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Report: FDA approves use of NBA-funded COVID-19 test

FILE PHOTO: Aug 1, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA; The NBA Whole New Game logo is seen before the start of a game between the LA Clippers and the New Orleans Pelicans at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 01, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

A COVID-19 test funded by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association has been given emergency authorization for public use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ESPN reported Saturday.

The test, SalivaDirect, was created at Yale. It likely will cost less than $20 for consumers, per the report.

NBA players and staff were tested with both a SalivaDirect test and a nasal swab test before the league’s return to play. When the results were compared, almost all of them matched. The nasal swab test, developed at Rutgers, can cost as much as $150, ESPN said.

Results of the SalivaDirect test can be back within 24 hours.

“(The Yale test) loses a little bit of sensitivity, but what we gain is speed and that it should be up to 10 times cheaper,” Nathan Grubaugh, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Yale, told ESPN.

The NBA and the players union combined to contribute more than $500,000 for the Yale research that led to the test.

“A lot of sports leagues and larger organizations were thinking, ‘OK, we’re shut down, so what can we do?’” Grubaugh said. “‘We are going to have to be testing our population -- players -- all the time if we want to play again. How can we do that?”’

The NBA, the union and Yale do not plan to receive royalties from the test, Grubaugh said.

--Field Level Media