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New COVID-19 testing option being explored in North Dakota

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A new way to test for COVID-19 is making its way to the Peace Garden State.

Having a swab up your nose or down your throat could be a thing of the past as the North Dakota Department of Health is looking to offer saliva tests.

“Before we can go live with that or offer that of course, we need to validate that and that it works appropriately and it performs as we expect,” shared Dr. Christie Massen, the Chief Laboratory Officer for the Department of Health.

Dr. Massen says as of now the sample testing will be done on people who have already tested positive for the virus as a way to confirm if it works or not.

“And so that’s where we’re at right now is working to identify individuals that are willing to get tested again because of course, we have to find individuals that are actively infected and still testing positive,” said Massen.

After the validation process is complete, the department will have to get the approval of the FDA to go ahead and use this form of testing throughout the state.

“If I’m able to validate it and get an FDA emergency use authorization we would provide those out as an option. You know healthcare providers could order that type of collection device,” explained Massen.

Massen says this new form of testing will be less invasive for people and easier for healthcare workers to collect the sample.

Results will still take anywhere from 24 to 36 hours to receive back from the lab because they are processed in the same way as the COVID nose or throat test is.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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