Gov't yet to decide on use of cheaper saliva COVID-19 test: PH Red Cross

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 04 2021 08:33 AM

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MANILA - The Philippines has yet to decide on the use of saliva tests in detecting the novel coronavirus, the Philippine Red Cross said Monday.

The cheaper COVID-19 test has a "99 percent detection rate" at the University of Illinois in the US, according to PRC biomolecular laboratories head Paulyn Ubial.

"Mas mura, mga kalahati po ang magiging presyo [ng RT-PCR] kung saka-sakali. Ito po kasi ay madaling kolektahin...Parang sterile vial lang ang gagamitin. Hindi na kailangan ng healthworker o swabber na ite-train to collect, pwedeng self-collection tapos isa-submit na lang nila sa laboratory," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(It's cheaper, it's half of the price of RT-PCR if ever. It's easy to collect...A sterile vial is used, there is no need to train a healthworker or swabber. The person can collect it themselves and submit it to the laboratory.)

It is used for high volume testing such as those of returning workers or students, she added.

The Red Cross submitted its application in October and is still waiting for the approval of the health department's Health Technology Assessment Council, Ubial said.

"Sinabi po nila sa'min 1 month lang po pero mahigit 2 months na po wala pa ring sagot. Pinagaaralan po nila 'yung ibang saliva test na ginawa. Meron kasing Yale protocol, ang ginamit namin Illinois protocol," she said.

(They told us it will take only a month but it's been more than 2 months already and we've yet to receive an answer. They are studying other saliva tests, there's the Yale protocol. The one we used is the Illinois protocol.)