Dr. Andrew Brooks, Rutgers scientist who developed first COVID spit test, passes away, school announces

Posted at 7:41 PM, Jan 27, 2021

A Rutgers scientist who was a crucial figure in developing the first COVID-19 saliva-based test died unexpectedly Saturday.

According to a statement from the school, Dr. Andrew Brooks was 51.

"We at Rutgers offer our heartfelt condolences to his family, including his three children, and with them, we take pride in his achievements that will have a lasting impact," said Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian Strom, and Rutgers Senior Vice President of Research S. David Kimball in a joint statement.

During his coronavirus press briefing on Monday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recognized Brooks' contributions, calling him "one of our state's unsung heroes."

During his tenure as chief operating officer and director of technology development at RUCDR Infinite Biologics, Brooks helped develop the COVID-19 saliva test.

The test received FDA emergency use authorization as the first approved saliva diagnostic and a month later as the first of any test approved for home use.