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NIU professor developing a new, non-invasive COVID-19 test. Today's the last day to participate

DeKALB – A research professor at Northern Illinois University is looking to develop a new, non-invasive way to test for COVID-19.

Dr. Beth Gaillard, presidential research professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry invites residents who are getting tested for COVID-19 at NIU’s pop-up site to take part in her research, and there’s one last day to do so: Wednesday.

Matt Streb, NIU chief of staff, said Gaillard’s research is still in its early stages, but she welcomes participants to help collect samples. How they do it? A simple 30-second mouth rinse with water.

Wednesday is the last day for the free drive-thru COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Anderson Hall parking lot on NIU’s campus. Participants should enter from Kishwaukee Drive off Lucinda Avenue and exit onto Garden Road. There will be official nasal swab testing and then Gaillard’s station set up for volunteers.

When you drive (or walk) up, Streb said, you’ll be asked whether you want to also participate in the research: you take some plain water, gargle it in your mouth for 30 seconds, and then spit it into a tube to be collected and tested for COVID-19.

Gaillard will then weigh the results of those tests with those conducted by the PCR tests through the pop-up site to verify results.

“Beth’s been working on developing and implementing a COVID test,” Streb said. “It’s simple, inexpensive, quick. It’s just gargling water. You take a small drink of water and spit it back into the tube. So she’s really excited about this. What she needs now, is to validate her samples. She needs to be able to show ‘My test can stand up to the gold standard, the PCR test.”

Participants won’t know the results of their water test when collected, but they’ll find out their test results from the pop-up site nasal swab within four to seven days, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

If Gaillard’s test proves promising, Streb said, it could be a step in the right direction for a less invasive test, one which doesn’t require a swab up the nose.

“We’re really excited about her opportunity, her research,” Streb said. “It’s just another example of the phenomenal faculty we have here.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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