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Dr. Andrew Brooks, a Rutgers University scientist who helped develop one of the first COVID tests, has died suddenly at the age of fifty-one.

Here's what we know...

It's true when they say there are real heroes out there...

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And the thousands of scientists who have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to try and find a vaccine are most certainly these kinds of heroes.

It's been a year since COVID-19 first took seige over our world...

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And although a tragic amount of people have died as a result, the end seems to be near.

There are currently 2 authorized vaccines being distributed around the world...

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​Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccine have been proven to have a ninety-five percent chance of preventing coronavirus, which is why millions of people have already been vaccinated with these particular vaccines.

There are also 3 other vaccines being currently trialed here in the United States, according to the CDC...

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Which is incredible news, considering our country is now the one of the worse affected in the world by the virus.

We have so many people to thank for developing these life-saving vaccines...

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But we also have people to thank for creating the intricate COVID tests that have diagnosed millions.

One of the first-ever COVID tests developed was a saliva-based test that allowed medics to test their patients without using nose or mouth swabs...

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​Ultimately lowering their risk of transmitting the virus due to them not having to stand as close to their patients.

​And the person behind this genius invention?

Twitter / Rutgers University

It was Dr. Andrew Brooks, a research professor at Rutgers University.

He was a key figure in the development of the saliva-based test...

Rutgers University

And when the test was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration in April 2020, Brooks said:

"It means we no longer have to put health care professionals at risk for infection by performing nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal collections. We can preserve precious personal protective equipment for use in patient care instead of testing."

"Saliva testing will help with the global shortage of swabs for sampling and increase testing of patients, and it will not require health care professionals to be put at risk to collect samples."

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"Saliva testing will also be important for people who are in quarantine because they don't know how long it will be until they are no longer infectious. This will allow health care workers to release themselves from quarantine and safely come back to work," he continued.

Alongside creating a life-saving test, Dr. Brooks was also an academic member of the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey...

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A research faculty member in Rutgers' Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, a member of its NIHS Center of Excellence, and a member of the graduate faculty in Rutgers Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology.

A pretty impressive resume, if you ask us.

His career was distinguished by outstanding scholarship, service in the field of biomedicine, and business activities designed to improve human health...

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And he also co-authored more than seventy publications and played a key role in providing consultation, biobanking, and analytical services to many large research projects that have yielded insights into the genomic etiology of human diseases and the effects of environmental exposures.

Dr. Brooks spent his entire life trying to help people and make a difference...

Rutgers University

Which is what makes the news of his sudden death all the more tragic.

The fifty-one-year-old researcher sadly died unexpectedly on Saturday last week.

"​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," 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 said in a joint statement.

During a press briefing on Monday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recognized Brooks' contributions in the fight against COVID-19...

Calling him "one of our state's unsung heroes."

"We cannot thank Andy enough for all he did across his career."

"He will be sorely missed by many," Murphy then said in a statement for the university.

Since the news of his death broke, many of Brooks' colleagues and associates have been sharing memories of working with him...

And it's clear that he was hugely respected in his line of work.

Of course, people are in a state of shock over his unexpected death...

And the fact that he didn't suffer from any type of known health issues is alarming for many.

According to the university, Brooks' cause of death is currently unknown...

But we're sure a cause will be revealed in the next few weeks.

A funeral service will be held on Jan. 28 by invitation only due to COVID-19 restrictions...

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And will also be live-streamed.

He is survived by his wife, Jil; 3 daughters, Lauren, Hannah, and Danielle; his mother, Phyllis Brooks, his sister Janet Green and a niece and nephew.

Rest in Peace, Dr. Brooks.

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Our deepest condolences go out to his family during this difficult time.