Aug. 19, 2020
Governor J.B. Pritzker and University of Illinois officials announced this afternoon announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the U of I’s COVID-19 saliva rapid test. University officials say they are working to make the test available statewide as quickly as possible.
“Today’s news puts the University of Illinois and the entire state of Illinois on the cutting edge of testing innovation on a national level. And let me just say to President Killeen, the State of Illinois looks forward to being your biggest customer,” said Governor Pritzker. “If ongoing research continues to yield positive results, this has potentially game-changing implications for our statewide testing program as well as for testing on a national level. I’m so proud – but not at all surprised – to see this type of groundbreaking work come out of our own University of Illinois and I want to applaud President Killeen and the entire research and development team at University of Illinois for this achievement.”
The U of I saliva-based test is easy-to-administer, scalable, sensitive and specific to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The test produces rapid results at costs significantly below current alternatives such as nasal swabs. Results are available within 2-6 hours.
The U of I System has already created a new internal unit, SHIELD Illinois, that is working to make the tests available in Illinois. Also, the Executive Committee of the University’s Board of Trustees last week created a new university-related organization, Shield T3, to make the technology available nationally.
The U of I testing initiatives grew from the breakthrough SHIELD program developed by Urbana-Champaign researchers. The name is a reference to their efforts to shield the campus community from the COVID-19 virus.