The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Tuesday formally partnered with SM Supermalls (SCMC) for the drive-thru saliva collection sites in an effort to make Saliva RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing more accessible.
The ceremonial signing of the memorandum of agreement was attended by PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Senator Richard Gordon, PRC Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla, SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, Senior Vice President for Operations Bien Mateo, and other executives from PRC and SCMC.
Starting February 2, PRC said that the drive-thru sites in SM Megamall and SM Mall of Asia will be opened. PRC will have its first two collection sites located in SM Megamall, Mega A bus bay at EDSA Mandaluyong, and at the 5 Ecom Open Parking in Mall of Asia, Pasay City.
PRC clarified that the said locations will only serve as specimen collection sites for the saliva RT-PCR test and these samples will be forwarded to the Red Cross laboratories for testing.
Even if the COVID-19 vaccines were already in sight, Gordon said that testing remains important in the fight against COVID-19. “We’re finding ways to ensure faster testing for our fellowmen,” he explained. “We are heading towards nationwide Saliva RT-PCR testing to help industries and schools open in this new normal,” he added.
Gordon said that PRC will also start to roll out the Saliva RT-PCR testing nationwide as chapters that will serve as saliva sample collecting stations undergo training to ensure the safety of the collecting personnel and the quality of collected samples. “This will give more Filipinos easier access to cheaper, faster, and non-invasive tests for COVID-19,” he added.
The saliva test offered by Red Cross, just like the swab test, is also RT-PCR based which is considered by the World Health Organization as the gold standard in testing for COVID-19.
It has been approved by the Department of Health after going through thorough study and research by the University of Illinois and the University of the Philippines.