By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is set to conduct its pilot saliva testing of over 1000 healthcare workers in the Philippines on January 12 in compliance with the Department of Health (DOH) requirements to secure full approval of the new testing method.
Saliva testing is a faster, easier, and cheaper alternative to the swab test as it is simpler and requires less processing.
To achieve the Saliva RT-PCR Test Pilot, PRC has partnered with 15 DOH hospitals in Metro Manila to implement the test as part of the health worker’s routine surveillance.
“Prerequisite to the DOH’s requirements, we will test medical front liners as they are the most exposed to the virus. The saliva testing can pave the way to a faster, easier, and cheaper process,” PRC Chairman and CEO Sen. Richard Gordon said.
The saliva testing which has a turnaround time of 3 to 4 hours is expected to be priced at PHP 2,000.
Earlier, the PRC continues its pursuit of the approval of saliva test as a faster, easier, and more affordable mode of determining the presence of COVID-19.
PRC proposed to the DOH and Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) the adoption of the saliva testing method in October 2020.
“We are expanding our testing services with a more affordable testing which is faster and less invasive. Our proposal is based on sound studies conducted and approved in other countries. These results as well as findings on tests conducted locally by PRC were presented to the DOH and the FDA,” Gordon said.
The test requires a saliva specimen which eliminates the discomfort of swabbing.
Saliva testing requires less protection and the need for Universal Transport Medium and swabs. The saliva specimen is stable at room temperature and does not require cold chain transport. These translates to reduced costs.
This efficient procedure aligns harmoniously with PRC’s goal to test more people and contain the spread of the coronavirus. True to its mandate to reach and aid the people, especially the most vulnerable, PRC ensures a more affordable testing through the saliva process. (AI/MTVN)