PH Red Cross warns vs self-administered saliva testing kits

Published February 19, 2021, 8:15 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) warned the public of self-administered saliva testing kits – especially those that are sold online.


PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon said that only the PRC’s saliva Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test is approved by the Department of Health (DOH).

Aside from being approved by DOH, Gordon said that the PRC’s saliva RT-PCR test went through the thorough study and research of the University of Illinois and the University of the Philippines.

It is also PCR based which is considered the “gold standard testing for COVID-19.”

“You should be careful about the self-testing kits that are being sold because these are unreliable and you can also infect others,” Gordon said in Filipino.

Given this, Gordon urged the public to only avail of the saliva RT-PCR test at PRC accredited collection sites in malls and PRC molecular laboratories “to ensure that we do not spread the infection.”

To book a testing appointment, visit

Meanwhile, the PRC also welcomed the clarification from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In a separate advisory, the FDA informed all healthcare professionals and the general public that the saliva antigen test kit approved by the FDA is “not the same” as the test kit used by the PRC in their RT-PCR testing using saliva as a sample.

“As the two categories of test kits stated are FDA approved, the saliva-specific test kit with special certification from FDA is a rapid antigen-based test kit,” the administration said. “On the other hand, the test kit utilized by the PRC is an RT-PCR based test kit,” it added.

FDA noted that with these products having varying specifications, “it is important to be reminded that administration and use of these kits should be done by trained health professionals.”