Philippine Red Cross expects approval of COVID-19 saliva test within the week

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2021 08:23 AM | Updated as of Jan 20 2021 08:36 AM

Philippine Red Cross expects approval of COVID-19 saliva test within the week 1
The Philippine Red Cross conducts its pilot run of COVID-19 saliva test in Mandaluyong City, Jan. 12, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine Red Cross expects authorization of the saliva-based coronavirus testing within the week, one of its officials said Wednesday.

"Inaasahan po namin within this week makuha namin ang 2 approval from FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and DOH (Department of Health)," Dr. Paulyn Ubial told Teleradyo.

(We expect we will receive approval this week from FDA and DOH.)

Ubial, who leads PRC's molecular laboratory, said the humanitarian organization had recently completed its pilot run of the saliva-based testing method from over 1,000 samples.

PRC also registered the kits they used in the testing to FDA for certification, she added.

Should the Philippine government allow saliva test for COVID-19 diagnosis, Ubial said other laboratories could follow suit.

"It's a public document. It can be done by any laboratory. But the problem there is that they must use the same reagent as we are using. If they are using a different reagent, they have to do the same validation study that we did," she said.

The procedure is published in a paper released by the University of Illinois, which developed the saliva-based testing, she added.

Securing regulatory approval will also mean that the country can ramp up its COVID-19 daily testing, the former health secretary said.

"Ibig sabihin, meron na tayong (It means we will have a) cheaper, faster, more convenient alternative which is just as accurate as the swab test or the gold standard," Ubial said.

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