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Research professor who developed first FDA approved COVID-19 saliva test unexpectedly dies at 51

A family member says Brooks died of a heart attack.

Published: February 1, 2021 12:19pm

Updated: February 1, 2021 3:13pm

Andrew Brooks, who helped developed one of the first coronavirus tests, had died of a heart attack.

Brooks, a Rutgers University's research professor, was a significant part of the COVID-19 research team that developed one of the first FDA approved saliva test, according to CNN.

The virus pandemic started in the U.S. in March 2020. The test was approved a month later by the Food and Drug Administration and authorized for home-use one month after.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy last week called Brooks "one of our state's unsung heroes," also saying his work "undoubtedly saved lives."

The university released a statement on his passing that said Brooks' death was unexpected."

"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 lasting impact," university officials said in the statement.

Over four million rapid-response tests have been conducted since March. Brooks' work also helped in creating a faster alternative to the nasal PCR tests.

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