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PH Red Cross allowed to use saliva test to detect new COVID-19

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has been given the go signal to conduct the less expensive saliva test for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a report by, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the PRC presented the results of its study of saliva testing for COVID-19 last week.

Vergeire pointed out that it will only the PRC that will be allowed to conduct the saliva test.

“It was agreed by the laboratory experts panel that this could be allowed,” Vergeire said at the Laging Handa briefing.

The experts panel’s recommendation was submitted to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. The PRC was then informed that it could use the test as an alternative to the real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

The Department of Health considers the RT-PCR as the gold standard for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, a severe respiratory disease.

The panel added that PRC laboratories should be used for this test for now because the results of the validation test by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine are still being awaited.

The saliva test is the cheaper alternative to the RT-PCR swab tests.

The government requires RT-PCR swab tests for all passengers arriving in the country.

According to the report, the saliva tests, which could also be used for non-travelers, reportedly cost PHP1,500 to PHP2,000, compared to PHP3,800 to PHP5,000 charged for the RT-PCR tests. (CC)

Staff Report

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