MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippine Red Cross on Wednesday warned the public against fake COVID-19 saliva tests being sold online as it opened additional sample collection sites in malls.
Fake COVID-19 saliva tests are being peddled in some areas in Manila and online after the Red Cross launched the alternative testing service last month, PRC chair Sen. Richard Gordon said in a press conference.
“There are some unscrupulous business people who are selling allegedly saliva tests and they add a fancy name— antigen,” he said.
“We are not there to push our products. We are not gonna do that... We are trying to suspend the tide of the pandemic,” he said.
The fake COVID-19 saliva test kits were reportedly sold for P1,000 each, half the price of the legitimate ones that can be booked and paid through the PRC's website, the senator said.
The PRC inked a deal to open 20 saliva collection centers in Robinsons Malls nationwide to bring the legitimate service closer to the public.
It hopes to offer a non-invasive and faster testing method for the public, other than the nasal swab, which some may find painful. Bookings may be made on the PRC website.
“You go where people are not yet aware and you go take advantage of that situation,” he said.
The PRC has also partnered with SM Malls and the Araneta group to further expand its COVID-19 saliva testing service. It will get in touch with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to curb the proliferation of the fake saliva test kits in the country, Gordon said.
As of Feb. 17, the PRC has processed 11,800 COVID-19 saliva tests since it launched the service last month, according to data from the non-profit organization.