Pritzker touts U of I saliva test as possible ‘game changer’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker touted a University of Illinois saliva test on Wednesday as a potential “game changer” in the fight against COVID-19.

The test, which involves spitting into a test tube, can offer results in hours and is expected to cost around $10. The university has performed more than 50,000 tests since making it available at no cost to faculty, staff and students last month.

University officials said Wednesday that the test had become the latest to receive emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The university expects to test up to 20,000 students at a day when the fall semester begins next week and students will be required to be tested twice a week.

Pritzker said there are possibilities for the tests to be used statewide, particularly for K-12 schools.

“If ongoing research continues to yield positive results, this has potentially game-changing implications for our statewide testing complex as well as for testing on a national level,” Pritzker said. “The potential here is enormous.”′

The news came as Illinois reported 2,295 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths. Overall, the state’s tally of confirmed cases is 211,889, including 7,806 deaths.