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ICYMI (The State): Kennedy: "Returning to normal begins with reliable, rapid testing"

August 18, 2020

From The State newspaper: The University of South Carolina will begin using a new type of coronavirus testing on campus starting Wednesday.
 
Unlike the traditional tests — which take several days to get results — the saliva tests can get results back within 24 hours, USC said in a news release. 

Adding saliva testing, “makes it possible for the university to test thousands of students and employees daily for COVID-19,” the statement said. 

Testing — dubbed “SAFE,” for Saliva Assay Free Expedited — will be available for students, faculty and staff, the release said. 

The SAFE tests were developed by USC College of Pharmacy researchers and works by identifying coronavirus DNA, statement said.

After the test was developed, Nephron Pharmaceuticals donated 50,000 sample tubes and a testing robot to USC to speed up testing. 

“If we want to stop the spread of this deadly virus, we have to expand COVID-19 screening where breakouts can occur, such as college campuses, and that is why this partnership with Carolina is so important,” Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy said in a release. “Returning to normal begins with reliable, rapid testing. We are proud to welcome the Gamecock family back to campus by working together with the university to make this kind of test available.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently gave approval to saliva tests, which are thought to be cheaper, faster, and less uncomfortable than the swab tests.

“Getting test results back in hours instead of days is a game changer,” Caslen said in the statement. “Thanks to the College of Pharmacy, our COVID-19 planning group, and Nephron Pharmaceuticals, the saliva test will play a critical role in keeping our campus safe. I strongly encourage everyone in our community to take advantage of this innovative opportunity in addition to wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing.”