Cost, turnaround time of swab, saliva COVID-19 tests may be same, DOST says


Posted at Aug 29 2020 02:57 PM

MANILA - The cost and time it will take to get results using saliva samples for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests and regular swab tests may be similar, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) chief said Saturday. 

This, as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine set out to study the use of saliva samples for COVID-19 testing to reduce discomfort in swab tests and minimize exposure between patients and health workers.

Science Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña said tests conducted by using saliva specimen would still depend on the number of available molecular labs - which are also used in conducting swab tests. 

"Sa pagkakaintindi hindi ganoon kababa ang presyo kasi ganun din ang test at kung sa tagal po ang tagal ng pagre-release ay capacity ng ating molecular labs. Kung ganun pa karami ang ating molecular laboratories ganoon pa rin ang paghihihintay," Dela Peña said at a press briefing. 

(From what I understand, the price will not be so different because the tests will be the same. The release of results will also depend on the capacity of our molecular labs. If the turnaround time of COVID-19 results in molecular labs remain the same, the wait for results [acquired through saliva specimen] will stay the same.) 

The government previously said it was studying the use of saliva samples for COVID-19 testing to reduce discomfort and exposure between patients and health workers.

This, instead of having a swab inserted into the throat or nose, which was noted to cause discomfort. Using saliva samples are said to cause less discomfort and leave lesser risks for health frontliners getting infected with COVID-19. 

The DOST is funding the P18-million project.

The study will involve the participation of around 200 suspect COVID-19 cases who will undergo the collection of both saliva and swab samples.