Red Cross-Baguio readies for saliva testing

THE Philippine Red Cross (PRC)-Baguio City chapter will soon start its saliva testing for Covid-19.

Annie Tamayo, administrator of Philippine Red Cross-Baguio, said the local government has allowed the use of the Melvin Jones Grandstand as the venue for the saliva testing.

“We still have to determine the date since we are dependent on our PRC Clark Molecular Laboratory that will provide us with the materials to be used in the collection of saliva specimens. Most likely, next week, we hope we would all be ready for us to start the collection and we expect around 150 recipients for our saliva collection,” Tamayo said.

According to the PRC, the saliva type of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test is a "non-invasive and less stringent" alternative to the swab test. The saliva test does not require a specimen collector to wear full personal protective equipment. It is cheaper, as it uses less equipment and reagents. Processing time will only take three to four hours.

Tamayo added for the selection process, interested individuals will need to book online and pay P2,000.

“Upon payment of the testing fee, individuals will be clarified based on their payment by our Clark Molecular Laboratory, which will be our basis for testing,” Tamayo added.

“The saliva testing is seen as a quicker system in gathering test results pertaining to Covid-19 to determine if an individual is positive or negative carrier of the virus because the results would come out within 24 hours upon collection of saliva specimens. This test is accurate, quicker and non-invasive as compared to the nasal pharyngeal or the throat swab and is cheaper aside from test results of recipients to be sent to their respective email addresses,” Tamayo added.

The Department of Health earlier given a letter of approval for PRC to push through with the saliva testing, but it needed to see first the results of validation tests of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine before allowing other laboratories across the country to use saliva tests.

The approval came after the PRC completed the pilot study in January 2021 involving 1,000 samples for a full review, where 17 positive cases were detected, while nine were detected through the swab tests.


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