Saliva COVID-19 test has '99 percent' detection rate in US, says PH Red Cross

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 03 2021 11:18 AM

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MANILA - The cheaper saliva COVID-19 test has a 99 percent detection rate in the US, the Philippine Red Cross said Sunday.

The non-government organization is still awaiting the approval of the health department's Health Technology Assessment Council for the country's COVID-19 testing using saliva, said former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, who now heads the Philippine Red Cross' biomolecular laboratories.

"Mas mura ang saliva [test], mas simpleng gawin. In the University of Illinois, naka-1 million saliva test na sila at 99 percent ang detection or concordance rate nila," she told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(The saliva test is cheaper and simpler to do. The University of Illinois has conducted 1 million saliva tests, and it has a 99 percent detection or concordance rate.)

Ubial added that the Philippine Red Cross' COVID-19 testing will continue even after government launches its immunization program, supposedly in the second quarter of the year.

"Pagdating ng vaccine, hindi naman po lahat mababakunahan agad-agad. In fact, they’re saying only 20 percent of the world’s population can be vaccinated within 2021. So, may tinitingnan sila up to 3 years na vaccination para maka-herd immunity tayo. So, tuloy-tuloy pa rin po ang testing," she said.

(When the vaccine comes, not everyone will be inoculated immediately. In fact, they’re saying only 20 percent of the world’s population can be vaccinated within 2021. So, officials are looking at up to 3 years of vaccination to achieve herd immunity. So, our COVID-19 testing will continue.)

The Philippines as of Saturday reported 476,916 cases of COVID-19, with 27,721 active infections.