There may be a bit of a breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for a saliva test.

"It doesn't need the same re-agents and swabs that have been the limiting steps to create testing at scale in this country. It really could be a game-changer if we can deploy it," said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, epidemiologist and public health expert.

Experts say results can be determined in under three hours and tests are expected to cost about $10 per sample.

"I think it will take weeks, if not longer, for this test to become more widely available, but as it comes online, I think people will like it much better than the more intrusive nasal swab test," said Dr. William Schaffner with the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Interestingly, the National Basketball Association helped fund the development of this test and uses it to test for non-symptomatic carriers.

This FDA announcement comes as the U.S. death toll for known COVID-19 cases passed the 170,000 mark.

"This virus is still spreading widely in the communities. It's not under control yet over much of the United States, I'm afraid," said Schaffner.