Thermo Fisher Scientific has introduced a new direct-from-saliva PCR test for Covid-19 to support extensive, high-frequency surveillance testing.

Using raw saliva samples, the Applied Biosystems TaqCheck SARS-CoV-2 Fast PCR Assay streamlines lab workflows, using tools available worldwide to provide reliable data rapidly.

In addition to the test, Thermo Fisher Scientific has unveiled the Safe Campus Reopening Program to subsidise the test cost for colleges, universities, and post-secondary institutions in the US.

The programme is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance that sought expanded Covid-19 surveillance with the help of PCR-based tests with turnaround times of 24h-48h.

The TaqCheck SARS-CoV-2 Fast PCR Assay carries out the test directly from raw saliva and reduces equipment, materials, time, and labour required for nucleic acid extraction.

It supports the labs in meeting the CDC-recommended turnaround time.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Genetic Sciences president Mark Smedley said: “Thermo Fisher scientists are continually working to answer the call as public and private institutions take proactive measures to protect their communities.

“The TaqCheck Fast PCR Assay breaks new ground and provides global communities access to affordable surveillance testing that is easy-to-implement and delivers trusted quality and reliability so they can manage the spread of Covid-19 and return to a sense of normalcy.”

Currently, direct-from-saliva PCR testing is being implemented at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to reduce on-campus testing costs and complications.

The UIUC has joined forces with Thermo Fisher to analyse how the TaqCheck SARS-CoV-2 Fast PCR Assay could further boost its existing workflow.

Thermo Fisher plans to apply for emergency use authorisation (EUA) in the US and CE-IVD in Europe early next year.