RITM told to complete saliva testing assessment in two weeks

Published February 2, 2021, 3:42 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

The Department of Health (DOH) has directed the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to complete, within two weeks, its evaluation on saliva as an alternative specimen for RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing to detect coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

(Jansen Romero / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“(Health) Sec. (Francisco) Duque has a standing order to RITM Director (Celia) Carlos last week that they should be able to finish the study for this validation of saliva as alternative specimen within two weeks,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing Monday.

“By next week, hopefully, RITM can already come out with the results. We can validate it, and we can be able to implement in all laboratories,” she added.

The Philippine Red Cross earlier rolled out the Saliva RT-PCR Test after the DOH approved the use of saliva as an alternative specimen for RT-PCR testing.

This allowed the PRC to use saliva testing in its molecular laboratories in Manila and Mandaluyong City. 

Saliva test uses the same system and machine with that of the nasopharyngeal swab samples.

But instead of having a swab inserted into one’s nostrils and throat, individuals are simply required to deposit a certain amount of saliva into a container. 

A positive evaluation of the RITM’s study on saliva testing is needed before it is allowed for use in other laboratories, according to DOH.

 
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