Concepcion explores saliva testing to help tourism sector

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion with leaders in the public and private sectors met recently with representatives from an Israel-based tech company to discuss the potential of Saliva COVID-19 Test to better detect the virus and give quick results which could help open the tourism sector.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The Israel-based company is the AI Innobio represented by Dr. Kyle Wong and Dr. Amanda Lim.

At the meeting were SeaOil Philippines president Glenn Yu, Department of Science and Technology representatives headed by Sec. Fortunato Dela Peña, and executive director of DOST-PCHRD Dr. Jaime C. Montoya.

“Go Negosyo is helping find solutions to open up the tourism sector safely. The faster we can have the latest testing technology that brings quick results within minutes with the highest possible accuracy will save this sector. The tourism sector is a huge sector of our country and it caters all the way down to many of our MSMEs. This is one of the sectors that have been hardly hit. The airlines are greatly affected,” Concepcion said.

“We have to open up and there is no way we can turn back. We have the responsibility to ensure the safety of the Filipino people which is why we have been an advocate of testing,” he said.

In a recent meeting, Yu sought the support of Go Negosyo in exploring the viability of the Saliva COVID Test. Yu initiated a discussion on the possible contribution of the Saliva Test in supporting the struggling tourism industry and helping micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in that sector recover.

The simpler and minimally invasive testing method uses AI technology from Israel and has the potential to cut turnaround time to less than a minute, lower the cost of testing, produce a high-reliability percentage, and reduce the demand for scarce testing resources.

Dr. Wong, adviser of AI Innobio, said the one-second COVID-19 test is already being used in Israel’s Sheba Hospital. With the goal of offering fast, affordable, innovative and reliable testing, AI InnoBio SpectraLIT Device can fit on the palm of the hand and can be used for border control purposes like airports, ports, and terminals.

There is no need for a technical expert to administer testing with their device, reducing the workload of healthcare staff, according to Dr. Amanda Lim of AI InnoBio.

Dela Peña expressed openness to explore innovative testing technologies provided they secure the necessary approval and validation from the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory bodies.

“If this can support the effort and people movement within that domestic , it will be a welcome opportunity,” said Retired General Restituto Padilla, spokesman of the National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19.

“If that goes ahead, we welcome that very much that will facilitate and open the road for the arrival .”

Adding saliva test to the country’s testing arsenal enhances our capacity for increased testing while reducing the strain on the healthcare system.

“We are not closing the door to innovations that are brought forward by different countries, different scientists who are developing this technology. We will constantly review them and work with DOH and our partners to provide the right guidance,” Concepcion emphasized.