Rapid saliva COVID-19 tests in the works at NYC fertility center

No nose swab and results in 30 minutes? It could be the future of testing for COVID-19, and it's being developed at a Columbia University offshoot.

News 12 Staff

Jul 24, 2020, 11:04 AM

Updated 1,397 days ago

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No nose swab and results in 30 minutes? It could be the future of testing for COVID-19, and it's being developed at a Columbia University offshoot.
They are now back up and running, but most procedures stopped at the Columbia Fertility Center during the height of COVID-19 in New York City.
"We realized we had a lot of technologies and tools that could be incredibly helpful,” says Dr. Williams, of Columbia Fertility Center.
For years, they have been developing rapid genetic testing for fertility treatment and used that to fight COVID-19.
Dr. Williams tells News 12 that the existing test requires two steps.
“The first step is to enrich the virus from that swab material, once the virus has been enriched it then gets amplified and detected, because there are two steps, it is a very complex procedure,” says Dr. Williams.
Williams’ team sent News 12 video of trials for the rapid saliva test that is just one step.
"You literally just, you can, take saliva from someone's mouth or you spit into a cup, you put it into a little tube that has a whole cocktail of all the enzymes and reagents that you need, you put it on a heat block, 63 degrees, 30 minutes, you take it out and you look at it and there is a color display in it so that if it is red, it is negative, and if it is yellow, it is positive. It is really that simple,” says Dr. Williams.
He says the fast turnaround is more than just a nice feature.
"It is actually an integral part of the test being able to allow us to return to some degree of normalcy,” says Dr. Williams.
It still needs FDA approval, but doctors at Columbia Fertility Center are hopeful.


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