Middlesex County has access to saliva test for COVID-19

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Middlesex County, in partnership with RUCDR Infinite Biologics, RWJBarnabas Health and Accurate Diagnostic Labs, are on the forefront of innovation in the fight against COVID-19, offering for the first-time a saliva-based test to the community on a mass scale.

Introduced recently by RUCDR and ADL, this saliva test, newly approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a breakthrough that will accelerate not only the volume of testing per day but provide results in 24-48 hours, according to information provided by Middlesex County.

Starting April 15, Middlesex County will be the first county government in New Jersey to provide this new test widely in a drive-through setting and at no cost to local first responders and residents.

“We are proud of our deep partnerships with RUCDR and Accurate Labs as well as RWJBarnabas Health, who have been on the frontline of this fight against COVID-19 in New Jersey. Middlesex County has built the operations and infrastructure from the ground up to enable us to utilize our extensive partnerships to provide innovative solutions to our community of first responders and residents. Thankfully we have a rare advantage in such a critical time to be able to rapidly deploy increased testing capabilities and accelerated results, while protecting our frontline workers,” Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said in the statement. “We believe our state-of-the-art drive-thru model can set a benchmark for testing that can benefit the state and other counties, as we all look for ways to better safeguard our communities in this crisis.”

“As the world faces a dire shortage in testing supplies, RUCDR is bringing forth a game-changing response to dramatically increase testing of patients, offering both time and cost efficiencies. With this breakthrough, we have the ability to track and trace infected individuals faster, ultimately mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Moreover, the sheer volume of specimens to be collected will aid in the development of a vaccine and new therapies. For this reason, our partnership with Middlesex County is pivotal for our ongoing research as mass testing via a drive-thru setting will generate the samples that will provide more accurate and timely information in curtailing the spread of COVID-19,” Andrew Brooks, PhD, COO and director of technology development for RUCDR, said in the statement.

The new saliva test developed by RUCDR and Accurate Diagnostic Labs has several significant advantages over the nasal or throat swab test, which include: 100% accuracy in predicting the presence of SARS-CoV2 COVID-19 when compared to currently available swab testing, a simple method of collection (spit and seal), less personal protection equipment required for collection, expedited test results (24-48 hours), reduced exposure and risk to healthcare personnel, high through-put of specimens (up to 10,000 per day), improved staffing requirements as multiple types of healthcare professionals can be used for supervised sample collection, and non-invasive pain-free procedure for sample collection, according to the statement.

“Accurate Diagnostic’s capabilities, steeped in a tradition of offering the latest diagnostic technology offerings, is proud to expand our relationship with a local, world-renowned institution in RUCDR Infinite Biologics and now with our own local government, Middlesex County. Together we can deliver the necessary COVID-19 testing at a much broader scale throughout the County, particularly to our front-line health care workers, first responders, and residents by utilizing these new collection and testing methods,” Accurate Diagnostic Labs CEO Rupen Patel said in the statement.

“RWJBarnabas Health continues to work with our partners at Rutgers University and with Middlesex County government, as we are all searching for pioneering solutions to help combat the COVID-19 disease. In this context, we are pleased to be the first health system to receive and deploy the new saliva-based test innovated by RUCDR in partnership with ADL. This advance will directly benefit our greater community that will now be able to access faster and more accurate testing results, to bring us closer to restricting the spread of COVID-19,” Barry H. Ostrowsky, president and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health, said in the statement..

The saliva testing method is based on a Nobel Prize-winning laboratory technique that makes millions of copies of the SARS-CoV-2 virus nucleic acid (in this case, RNA) in a sample. This test is being offered through FDA EUA#200090 and can be found at www.fda.gov/media/136876/download.

Saliva tests will be available at Kilmer Vehicle Inspection/Driving Testing Center, 33 Kilmer Road, Edison, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Middlesex County residents who have symptoms should visit Middlesexcountynj.gov/COVID19testing to register and receive a time to report to the testing site. Registrants must bring the completed registration form and proof of residency including, but not limited to: a valid driver’s license; state issued identification; or two pieces of mail including utility bills, bank statements, or similar documentation with name and address, to the testing site.

For more information and resources on COVID-19, visit Middlesexcountynj.gov/covid19.