Philippine Red Cross begins further study on saliva COVID-19 test

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2021 08:46 AM | Updated as of Jan 11 2021 09:35 AM

Arriving OFWs at the NAIA Terminal 1 undergo health protocols and fill out documents while being assisted by Philippine Coast Guard personnel before getting clearance from the Philippine Red Cross to get swab tests on October 28, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine Red Cross on Monday will begin distributing saliva COVID-19 test kits to healthworkers for another run of its pilot study as recommended by the health department, an official said.

Some 1,000 healthworkers will be tested for the coronavirus using the saliva test and the gold standard RT-PCR test, according to Dr. Paulyn Ubial, head of PRC biomolecular laboratories.

"Ine-expect po namin na babalik po lahat ng results within 2-3 days. Pagbalik nun, ira-run namin, may results na po tayo hopefully by Friday or Monday next week," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(We expect to receive results within 2-3 days. After that, we'll run it and get results hopefully by Friday or Monday next week.)

The non-government organization tested 238 participants for its initial study but it was not enough for the Department of Health, Ubial said.

"Sa lahat ng studies na tiningnan namin--gumawa ang Australia, Thailand, and Japan--less than 200 nga 'yung sample size nila, the result was accepted by their expert panel," she said.

(In all of the studies we read--Australia, Thailand, and Japan--they had less than 200 sample size but the result was accepted by their expert panel.)

"Aprubado naman ng UP Ethics Review Board ang sample size. Di po namin maintindihan bakit pagdating sa DOH health technology assessment council eh kailangan dagdagan pa."

(The sample size was approved by the UP Ethics Review Board. We don't understand why the DOH health technology assessment council needs us to add more.)

The cheaper COVID-19 test may be available for public use once the study is complete and the saliva test kits are registered with the Food and Drug Administration, according to DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

"'Yun na lang po hinihintay natin na makatapos ang Philippine Red Cross ng mag rekomendasyon na isama sa pagaaral nila, and also 'yung pagregister ng FDA sa testing kits na ginagamit nila, that it can also be used for saliva specimen," she said.

(We're only waiting for the Philippine Red Cross to complete recommendations on their study and the FDA registration of the testing kits they use, that it can also be used for saliva specimen.)

"Ang rekomendasyon ng ating lab experts panel ng DOH na ipagpatuloy pa ang pagaaral dahil meron pang kulang na aspeto na hindi nakita."

(The lab experts panel of DOH recommended further study due to some aspects that were not seen in the initial one.)

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