NewsLocal News


San Diego based company behind rapid COVID saliva test

Posted at 3:32 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 21:14:54-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- We've all seen the nasal swabs being pushed far up noses to test for coronavirus. And if you've had it done, you know it's uncomfortable. But more tests are being developed where all you have to do is spit into a tube.

"You basically open up your mouth, we collect a tiny bit of saliva and you're done. Your side is done," said Dr. Henry Ji, President and CEO of San Diego based Sorrento Theraputics.

According to Ji, the biopharma company is on track to start producing a rapid saliva test developed by researchers at Columbia University.

It's being called "COVI TRACE" and it can be used almost anywhere.

It gives results in about 30 minutes, with the liquid color changing from red to yellow if it's positive for Covid-19.

Preliminary results indicate the test has high accuracy rates.

Sorrento also says "COVI TRACE" is highly sensitive, meaning it can detect the presence of Covid-19 very early on.

Sorrento executives say they plan to submit the test for FDA approval within the next few weeks.

"While the FDA is reviewing and leading up to review we are gearing up to manufacture hundreds of thousands and millions of tests; eventually anticipating about a hundred million tests a month," said Sorrento's Henry Brunswick.

As for the cost, Ji says they're trying to keep it widely affordable, at around $10.

At this point there's no estimate for when the rapid saliva "COVI TRACE" test could be approved by the FDA, but Sorrento is submitting an emergency use request in hopes of speeding up the process.