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FDA approves new, Missouri-developed coronavirus test: ‘This is a game-changer’

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A new COVID-19 test developed by researchers in Missouri has been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday. 

“This new saliva-based COVID-19 test, developed by researchers at Washington University, is a major development in testing technology and will help us continue to increase testing volumes and improve turnaround time for test results,” Parson told reporters during an afternoon press conference. 

Parson said the test had been in the works for a while and had had hopes for it to be approved for a month. It was developed by researchers at Washington University. 

“This is a game-changer,” Parson said. “When you think about that being done here in Missouri, to be able to have rapid testing, one of the first models that’s going to go across the United States. You got Pfizer here in Missouri working on a vaccine; this is a great deal for our state, the technology, the health care system we have, that we’re going to be leading the nation in those two things.”

Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams noted last week during a hearing in the House Special Committee on Disease Control and Prevention that a vaccine was expected in December or January, and Missouri may increase its focus on flu vaccinations in the fall as a “bridge.”

Six vaccines are currently in development, according to Williams, including one through Pfizer and Washington University. 

Parson praised the progress Missouri had made in fighting COVID-19 since March, noting the quick response of Cabinet officials and agencies and the decrease in positive tests alongside an increased focus on testing. He also made note of a steady decrease in fatalities.

“These are just a few examples of the tremendous amount of work that has been done over the past six months,” he said. “It is truly remarkable to think about how far we have come. Missourians have all worked extremely hard to get where we are now, and we must keep up our efforts.”

At least 76,636 Missourians have tested positive for COVID-19, and 1,440 have died.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.