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Scientists say saliva test for COVID-19 could be a game-changer amid long wait times

Posted at 10:41 AM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 13:46:47-04

Across the country, as coronavirus testing has increased, so have the long lines waiting to take a test. Some people are reporting having to wait nearly two weeks for results, in some cases.

Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute says their new saliva test could be a real game-changer in getting a better handle on this pandemic.

On July 10, ABC15 met Heidy Gonzales who was in line for free testing through the HeroZona Foundation at South Mountain Community College.

"There are some people who have been coming twice, three times," she explained.

That was the story for another young woman we met, Mika, who says she had been to the same testing site the day before and was turned away.

After extended family tested positive, she didn't want to take any chances. She says, she didn't have a choice but to come back.

And it's not just long lines but also long wait times, with some people waiting as long as two weeks to get results. But ASU's new saliva test could be a possible solution to speeding up the process.

"The accuracy is as good as the nasal swab, if not better," explains Dr. Joshua LaBaer, director of ASU's Biodesign Institute.

Dr. LaBaer says these spit samples are not only quicker to collect, but results come back in 24 to 48 hours.

So far, ASU has hosted several testing events across the Valley with more planned in the coming weeks.

For more information, go to Biodesign.asu.edu.

This story originally reported by Nick Ciletti on abc15.com.