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  • Manu Ferreira

University of Illinois’s COVID-19 Test Now Available All Across the State

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

By Manu Ferreira

The University of Illinois’s system for COVID-19 testing has been expanded across the state. The saliva-based test now can be used in schools, community colleges, and communities sites.

Photo courtesy by CovidShield

The CovidSHIELD was developed by the University of Iliinois in Urbana-Champaign in 2020 to rapidly detect the virus in students, faculty, and staff, and mitigate infection on campus. The goal was to enable in-person learning during the 2020-21 academic year.

Due to its efficiency, the system was expanded to attend the whole state of Illinois. Now, the SHIELD program provides a saliva-based test to over 1,600 K-12 schools, 57 universities and community colleges, and at 25 community sites.

That means that not only students or employees can take the test, but the population also will be able to get tested for free.

After taking the test, the state receives all results to process data and identify which variants of COVID-19 are predominant among the samples.

To find out a nearby location available and schedule an appointment, visit the website

About the test

The CovidSHIELD requires only a small amount of saliva from an individual and provides results within six to 12 hours. The process bypasses the RNA extraction step that is common to many COVID-19 tests.

Photo cortesy by Shield Illinois

That speeds up the process and reduces the cost when compared to nasal swab tests, while also avoiding supply chain shortage.

More than 4 million tests were performed over the last year. According to a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s study, its results on negative samples matched a comparator test 99% of the time.

Another study conducted by FDA showed that covidSHIELD's results on positive samples matched a comparator test 96% of the time.

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