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Illinois validates saliva-based test for COVID-19

Dr. Robin Holland, who is part of the COVID-19 research team for the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign, runs tests on saliva samples in labs housed at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

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AUG 19, 2020 2:30 PM
By Liz Ahlberg Touchstone, Biomedical Sciences Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is now performing its new rapid, saliva-based COVID-19 test on all students, faculty members and staff. The university validated its laboratory-developed test under CLIA by successfully comparing its performance to an FDA Emergency Use Authorized test.

“Direct saliva testing can address bottlenecks of time, cost and supplies. Our test also has unique features that enable fast and frequent testing on a large scale, and we are now working together with many partners to make our testing method broadly available as soon as possible,” said Dr. Martin Burke, a chemistry professor who helped to design the test. Burke also is the associate dean for research at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and a medical doctor.

“Today’s news puts the University of Illinois and the entire state of Illinois on the cutting edge of testing innovation on a national level. And let me just say to President Killeen, the State of Illinois looks forward to being your biggest customer,” said Illinois Gov.

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