Scientists at Upstate Medical continue groundbreaking research on coronavirus testing.

They say the newest development will help prevent or contain outbreaks on college campuses. 

It all starts with saliva testing. 

“Within our system now we can do this testing individually. That opens up many possibilities for campuses reopening,” said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras. 

New SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras visited Upstate’s labs on his second day.

They’ve been doing pooled saliva testing for a few weeks.

Tuesday, the state health department gave them approval to take it a step further. 

If the pool of 12 tests comes back positive for the coronavirus, scientists can now test the individual samples to figure out who has the virus. 

“We want to target, isolate and stop outbreaks before they get too big. And we found this at SUNY Oneonta where several cases as the result of a party became now close to nearly 200 cases. It shows how fast this virus can still spread. That it’s not over,” said Malatras.

The number of Oneonta students infected continues to climb, and the campus is now closed.

Malatras says enhanced saliva testing is game changing to prevent outbreaks like that one. 

“We want to isolate and contain these issues. We believe it is individual responsibility for the collective good, so we all have to do our part,” said Malatras.

SUNY Upstate can test more than 100,000 people a week.

So the entire SUNY system can be tested within two weeks, with results back in a day or two.