(HealthDay News) — The first saliva test for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) was approved Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The test, developed by Rutgers University researchers, provides another testing option and could lower health care workers’ risk for COVID-19 infection. At first, the test will be available at hospitals and clinics affiliated with the university.

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Currently, screening for COVID-19 requires a health care worker to take a swab from a patient’s nose or throat. For the new saliva test, patients spit into a plastic tube and then give the tube back to a health care worker for laboratory testing.

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“This prevents health care professionals from having to actually be in the face of somebody that is symptomatic,” Andrew Brooks, Ph.D., who directs the Rutgers lab that developed the test, told the Associated Press.

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