Worth a spit: Saliva tests for COVID-19 seen to spur air travel demand

Published February 1, 2021, 7:16 PM

by Ariel Fernandez

AirAsia welcomed the recent approval of saliva tests for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), citing it as a positive development towards stimulating air travel demand.

(Photo by Jansen Romero)

“This will definitely positively increase the appetite of air travelers, especially for AirAsia leisure destinations such as Boracay and Bohol that require RT-PCR test,”AirAsia Philippines Spokesperson Steve Dailisan said.

“Saliva RT-PCR test is not only cheaper but also non-invasive and less stringent,” Dailisan added.

The Department of Health (DoH) recently approved the use of saliva for COVID-19 testing after the pilot testing conducted by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) yielded a 98.11-percent accuracy.

Saliva tests for COVID-19 generate faster results of within three to four hours, after samples have been collected. It is also cheaper at P1,500-2,000 compared to the RT-PCR swab test which ranges from P3,500 to P5,000.

Prior to this, only PRC laboratories were allowed to conduct the saliva test pending the parallel validation test being conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

The airline’s partner diagnostic laboratory, the Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory (PADLAB), is now in the process of securing formal endorsement from DOH to facilitate the saliva tests very soon, Dailisan said.