Saliva test for COVID used by NBA teams

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    THE US Food and Drug Administration on Saturday granted emergency use authorization to Yale School of Public Health’s saliva test to detect COVID-19, after a trial on National Basketball Association players and staff.

    SalivaDirect, the fifth saliva test approved by the FDA for the disease, requires no swab or collection device and uses spit from people suspected of having the coronavirus, the agency said.

    FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn called the test “groundbreaking” in its efficiency and in being unaffected by crucial component shortages.

    SalivaDirect is seen as a cheap, simpler and less invasive testing method that requires no extraction of nucleic acid and can use several readily available reagents.

    The NBA has used the test in a program involving asymptomatic players, coaches and staff from various teams, after partnering with Yale in June, the school said in a separate statement.

    “We simplified the test so that it only costs a couple of dollars for reagents, and we expect that labs will only charge about $10 per sample,” Nathan Grubaugh, assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health, said.

    In Florida, CJ McCollum scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon, helping the Portland Trail Blazers rally from a late deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 126-122 in the Western Conference play-in game near Orlando.

    The win allowed the Trail Blazers to secure the eighth and final Western playoff berth and move on to a best-of-seven first-round series against the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers beginning Tuesday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

    The loss ended the season for Memphis, which held eighth place at the beginning of the restart but then lost six of eight before Saturday’s defeat.

    Damian Lillard had 31 points to pace the Trail Blazers, who took advantage of 19 more free throw opportunities to outscore the Grizzlies 35-18 at the foul line. Lillard completed a double-double with a game-high 10 assists. – Field Level Media