UF prof wins honor for smartphone-based saliva test for COVID-19

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida professor and his industry collaborators won second place in a National Institutes of Health technology competition for a smartphone-based, rapid saliva test to diagnose COVID-19, along with two other diseases of major global importance: malaria and anemia.

A team consisting of Rhoel Dinglasan, a professor of infectious diseases with UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine and two others received one of six awards in the NIH Technology Accelerator Challenge, or NTAC, offered for the first time this year.

The competition was held to encourage the design and development of innovative diagnostic platforms for assessing two major vascular diseases, one of which had to include sickle cell disease, malaria or anemia. Other criteria included accessibility, low cost and the use of a mobile device or a portable attachment to the device.

Dinglasan’s team will receive $200,000 for their entry in the competition, which offered a

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Health officials stress importance of getting vaccinated against the flu

LUMBERTON — Health officials in Raleigh and Robeson County are urging people to get vaccinated against influenza as the state enters the flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year, with COVID-19 still spreading in our communities, it’s critically important to get your flu vaccine,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services secretary. “Flu can be a serious, sometimes deadly, disease. It is important to get vaccinated against the flu to keep you and your family healthy.”

It is particularly important for pregnant women, children, adults ages 65 and older, and people with chronic health conditions to be vaccinated, said Bill Smith, Robeson County Health Department director. And there is a high dose vaccination available for these population groups.

“As flu and COVID-19 are both affecting your lungs, having them at the same time will overwhelm some people, thus the advise to

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