Biotech Firm Licenses At-Home COVID Saliva Test

Barron’s Daily reports:

A small biotech called Sorrento Therapeutics announced Wednesday that it had licensed a Covid-19 test from Columbia University that, according to a small study, can provide highly accurate results in thirty minutes using only a person’s saliva.

In an interview Monday, Sorrento CEO Dr. Henry Ji said that the test could eventually be used to test people before they fly on airplanes, attend sporting events, or stay at a hotel. “You could open up the whole country, the whole society,” Ji said.

Unlike other rapid point of care diagnostic tests, like the ID NOW from Abbott Laboratories (ABT), the Sorrento test doesn’t run on a specialized machine, and doesn’t require a nasal swab. It does need to be kept at a constant, specific temperature for 30 minutes.

The Daily Beast reports:

The team at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Sorrento say they will, within weeks, scale up those trials, and—if the results are positive—apply for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

From there, they hope to pursue “rapid, full scale production” of the test to a market in desperate need of test results that come back quickly—and reliably—enough to make coronavirus surveillance possible.

What remains to be seen, experts said, was whether this latest potential game changer would deliver the goods amid a sea of hyped vaccine trials, therapies, and testing initiatives that sometimes seem designed to juice stock prices.

NOTE: The image above is just a stock graphic of a home pregnancy test. It’s not yet known what the Sorrento test might look like.