MLB plans to use groundbreaking COVID-19 saliva test on players

MLB Opening Day
Apr 5, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; A general view of the 2018 Opening Day logo on the field prior to the Washington Nationals home opener against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. New York Mets defeated Washington Nationals 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not yet known when the 2020 Major League Baseball season will start. It has been suspended since back in March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic plaguing the world.

What we do know is that MLB and its owners have put forth a plan to begin the season. It’s awaiting approval from the players. If this were to come to fruition, the season would start some time in July.

One of the biggest sticking points outside of the economics is obviously the health of players and team personnel. The players’ union is set to respond to MLB’s initial plan at some point soon. Said plan includes daily testing of individual players.

According to this note from Jared Diamond and Louise Radnofsky of The Wall Street Journal, this could also include a groundbreaking saliva test that can get results back within the matter of minutes.

“The MLB Players Association, which has to sign off on the plan before baseball can resume, is also comfortable with the accuracy of the saliva test,” the report noted.

This at-home saliva test got emergency approval from the Food Drug Administration (FDA) earlier in the week. It was developed by the fine folks over at Rutgers University through RUCDR Infinite Biologics and in partnership with the National Institute of Mental Health.

By and large, widespread accessibility to this test would be revolutionary in the fight against the global pandemic. Now that MLB is considering using it, we could see it become prevalent in the general population.

Needless to say, it would also help sports start up again on a widespread basis. That could begin with the 2020 MLB season.