FDA Approves University of Illinois’ Saliva COVID-19 Test for Emergency Use Authorization

March 5, 2021

The COVID-19 saliva test developed by University of Illinois researchers, known as covidShield, was listed as one of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s approved molecular diagnostic tests as of Feb. 24, 2021

Although this rapid saliva-based COVID-19 test recently obtained FDA emergency use authorization, students, campus staff and faculty at all three campuses – Urbana-Champaign, Springfield and Chicago – were already using covidShield because the tests were developed and analyzed in state-certified campus labs.

Governor Pritzker is now allocating $20 million in CARES Act funding to expand the saliva test to the state’s nine other public universities and 48 community colleges. 

Some of thebenefits of covidShield include:

  • Low cost: $20 to $30 a test compared to $100 or more for nasal swab tests

  • Quick turnaround time of less than 24 hours

  • The tests do not need medically trained staff to collect samples

  • The test is highly accurate

If you have questions, please contact the ISMS Health Policy Research and Advocacy team  by email

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