University of Illinois’ COVID-19 saliva test moves closer to FDA approval

By: | January 5, 2021

The University of Illinois has completed a critical step toward obtaining federal approval for its saliva-based COVID-19 test, but some lawmakers worry it’s taking too long to help other state colleges, school districts and companies struggling to operate amid the pandemic.

The test, developed by faculty at the state’s largest public university, was validated in a clinical study and last week submitted to regulators for emergency use authorization, a designation that enables broader distribution, according to Jay Walsh, interim vice president for economic development and innovation at the U. of I. System.

But nearly six months after its unveiling, the test remains largely confined to the school’s campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. With an emergency use request submitted, other parties will be able to use the test while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviews the application. It’s unclear how long that will take, but the emergency authorization is desirable because it provides liability protection among other regulatory benefits.

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