FDA Approves New Saliva-Based Coronavirus Test That Reduces Medical Workers' Exposure to Virus

Rutgers said that starting Wednesday, in partnership with the Middlesex County government and RWJBarnabas Health, the saliva test will be available to county residents at a drive-thru testing facility in Edison, New Jersey.

The U.S. has struggled to make COVID-19 testing widely available to all Americans. The government initially restricted testing to the Centers for Disease Control, but their test malfunctioned, and the country lost critical weeks waiting for a usable test. Nearly two months later, the limited amount of tests available are largely restricted to those who are already showing COVID-19 symptoms or essential health care workers.

New tests, like Rutgers’ and one from Abbott Laboratories that delivers rapid results, are promising, and experts have said that the U.S. needs to reach a point where anyone can get tested, even those who are not showing symptoms, before the country can reopen.

“If we have quick testing, maybe that’s our way out,” Dr. Emily Gurley, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, previously told PEOPLE.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are at least 580,878 cases of coronavirus and over 23,000 deaths in the United States, according to the New York Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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