Red Cross sets pilot saliva test on 1,000 healthcare workers to validate new alternative COVID-19 test

Published January 12, 2021, 4:25 PM

by Hannah Lo. Torregoza & Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) announced on Tuesday it is conducting pilot saliva testing of over 1,000 healthcare workers in the country in compliance with the requirements of the Department of Health (DOH) to secure full approval of the new testing method.

(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Prerequisite to the DOH’s requirements, we will test medical front liners as they are the most exposed to the virus,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon said.

“The saliva testing can pave the way to a faster, easier, and cheaper process,” he added.

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,” Gordon said in a statement.

The saliva COVID-19 testing, which has a turnaround time of three to four hours is expected to be priced at P2,000.

PRC proposed to the Department of Health (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,” Gordon explained. “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,” he added.

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,” PRC said.

“The saliva specimen is stable at room temperature and does not require cold chain transport – these translates to reduced costs,” it added.

READ MORE: PRC distributes saliva test kits to health workers to boost pilot study

 
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