DOH approves saliva test in Red Cross labs

MANILA. In this photo taken on January 12, 2021, the Philippine Red Cross starts the pilot run of saliva tests to detect Sars-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19. (File)

THE Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday, January 23, 2021, has approved the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) proposal to use saliva tests to detect Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

This type of test, however, will be allowed only in PRC laboratories for now.

In a televised public briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have informed the PRC that they can already use the saliva as an alternative specimen.

She said the Covid-19 laboratory experts panel (CLEP) gave a favorable recommendation to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III.

"They presented their results to our CLEP and it was agreed by the CLEP that they can already be used," Vergeire said.

She said the CLEP is still waiting for the parallel study by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on saliva testing before allowing its full use.

"The CLEP wants to wait for the result of the validation tests of the RITM before it can be used in other laboratories," said Vergeire.

The PRC sought DOH approval of the saliva testing for Sars-CoV-2 in late 2020. Under this, people need only to spit into a sterile tube and bring it to the laboratory for processing.

The machines used for RT-PCR testing are also the ones needed for the saliva test.

In a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, the virus is detected in nasopharyngeal specimens. (HDT / SunStar Philippines)


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