Concepcion backs study on saliva-based COVID-19 test

Published February 23, 2021, 12:51 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion on Tuesday expressed his support for the wider coverage of saliva-based testing for COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) that offers a “more convenient, efficient and cost-effective” method.

Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion

Concepcion made this push after the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) launched its own research on the use of saliva as a specimen for COVID-19 testing, the results of which will be forwarded to the Department of Health (DOH) for approval and implementation. 

“We are pleased to announce that our study on the use of saliva as a specimen for SEA-CoV-2 antigen and RT-PCR has been approved by the PCMC Institutional Review and Ethics Board. It paves the way for a faster, more economical, and safer method of testing if proven. We invite all who will avail of regular RT-PCR testing at PCMC to participate in the study for us to move forward in re-opening our economy with proper safety measures,” said Dr. Raymundo Lo, Head of PCMC COVID-19 Testing Laboratory.

Lo assured that the saliva-based method is more convenient and ideal as it is painless, and no need for swabbers to extract samples. 

After the go signal from PCMC and the final report from the research team of Dr. Lo, Concepcion said the group will seek the DOH approval for greater coverage and dissemination. 

“DOH approval would mean that all hospitals and testing centers that have been conducting swab-based PCR testing would be trained and allowed to conduct saliva-based PCR testing,” Concepcion said.

Concepcion’s Go Negosyo has been at the forefront of testing and testing innovations from the Rapid Antibody Test kits to the Pooled PCR testing, and now the Saliva-based Testing and Saliva-based Pooled PCR Testing.

 Private sector partners, through Go Negosyo, supported and funded the research on saliva testing being conducted by the Philippine Society of Pathologist Incorporated (PSPI), Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the PCMC, the same team that produced the study on swab-based pooled testing.

“Testing is a great supplement while we are awaiting the vaccine, our nuclear warhead for this war against COVID-19. Like what I usually say, utilize the weapon available to us, and our efforts on testing would serve as our machine guns for this war—our way to hold the enemy while we are waiting for the arrival of our nuclear warhead. We will soon see this pandemic end and I can assure everyone that we are doing our best efforts so that no Filipino will be left behind,” Concepcion said.

Last month, the Philippine National Red Cross (PRC) launched its own COVID-19 RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test using saliva after getting the nod of the DOH. 

PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Senator Richard Gordon said the use of saliva for testing is a cheaper and faster method that would allow the government to save millions in Covid-19 testing.