If you’re worried about your favorite NBA players, you can relax now. The basketball league has teamed up with Yale to use its new saliva COVID-19 test. Called SalivaDirect, this test uses saliva instead of nasal swabs to detect the virus.
Quick and Cheap COVID-19 Testing with SalivaDirect
Yale created SalivaDirect to improve testing rates in the US. Gizmodo reports that many labs can use Yale’s methods to get the samples they need. These labs don’t even have to share Yale’s equipment for their testing. All the labs need to do is follow Yale’s instructions.
Moreover, Yale will hand out SalivaDirect to other labs for free. The US FDA has also approved SalivaDirect for public use.
The NBA and NBA Player's Union funded the creation of a saliva-based COVID test with Yale that is cheaper and quicker than current options. https://t.co/FKTXBYn5gp
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 15, 2020
NBA and SalivaDirect
Once the association learned about Yale’s saliva testing efforts, the league reached out for a partnership. With SalivaDirect, they devised a plan to test its personnel. To prepare for the season restart, NBA teams and staff have given saliva, mouth, and nose samples for testing for over two months. They sent these out from their home cities and in the Walt Disney bubble in Orlando, Florida.
The league sends the samples to Yale for testing under the Surveillance with Improved Screening and Health (SWISH) program. Under SWISH, experts test peoples’ saliva against their nose and mouth samples. Staffers at Walt Disney World also send out samples to SWISH.
COVID-19 in the NBA Bubble
Currently, the NBA has reported zero COVID-19 cases in the Orlando bubble. It still might take some time before SalivaDirect can detect asymptomatic cases. The NBA has already resumed the season in Walt Disney World. The NBA Playoffs begin Tuesday.