MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippine Red Cross said it would begin the use of the cheaper and less invasive saliva COVID-19 test on Monday following the approval by the Department of Health.
The saliva COVID-19 test will be available at the Red Cross' molecular laboratories in Mandaluyong and Port Area in Manila, said Dr. Paulyn Ubial.
"By February, we expect the whole country, all the 13 molecular laboratories of the Philippine Red Cross can test for saliva," she told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo Sunday.
"Dadalhin na sa probinsiya 'yan. By February 5, kumpleto na sa buong Pilipinas, lahat may saliva test na," PRC chairman Sen. Richard Gordon added.
(We will bring this to the provinces. By February 5, Red Cross laboratories nationwide will be complete for the saliva test.)
Ubial, who leads the PRC's molecular laboratories, said the humanitarian organization completed last week an extension of its pilot run of the saliva-based testing method with over 1,000 samples.
The result of the method, which only requires a person to drool into a sterile vial, may be released after 3 hours, the PRC earlier said.
The procedure costs P2,000, which is cheaper than the gold standard RT-PCR test, according to Gordon.
Ubial said the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation needs to include the saliva RT-PCR test in its COVID-19 package.
Those who want to avail of the PRC's service have to book via book.redcross1158.com. Thirty minutes prior to submission of their saliva sample, they should not eat anything, drink, gargle, smoke or use vape, Gordon advised.
The Red Cross is awaiting the DOH approval for the use of the cheaper COVID-19 test in airports, the senator said.
"Sa Japan, sa airport, tine-test yan, (at) sa (They do it in airports in Japan and) Singapore. I don’t see any reason why we can’t do that," he said.