A large contingent of Illinois’ congressional delegation has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support and deploy the University of Illinois’ saliva-based COVID-19 testing. U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, along with 13th District Congressman Rodney Davis, and 18th District Congressman Darin LaHood, as well as 11 other Illinois congressional Democrats and 3 Republicans sent the letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar today.
The letter urges Azar to provide federal resources to support the expansion of SHIELD T3, an innovative system of COVID-19 testing and tracing, developed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The members highlighted the benefits of SHIELD T3 – such as rapid results in two to six hours at costs significantly below current alternatives, and possibility for mobile labs – and urged HHS to look closely at what UIUC has developed and consider ways to scale up the testing regimen at the national level in order to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of the members cited testing as a way to reopen the economy, restart schools, and address COVID-19 hot spots. The letter also asks that the FDA and other agencies continue to evaluate and assist in addressing detrimental supply chain limitations that have hindered the deployment of rapid testing throughout the country.