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PRC nears green light for saliva tests

The best news in fact, is that saliva tests are cheaper by at least half the price since there is a cheaper labor cost, few equipment and reagents to be used in a lesser running time conclusive and concordant with the swab tests.

Michelle R. Guillang

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The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is about to reach the end stages of testing the effectiveness of a cheaper and quicker alternative in detecting coronavirus in one’s system — the saliva test.

Results of the saliva test can be released in four hours compared to other forms of coronavirus tests which takes days to know their results.

The humanitarian group would only need gain approval from the Department of Health before it is utilized in a national level to determine whether an individual tests positive or negative to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

PRC chair and Senator Richard Gordon in his meeting with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Wednesday appealed to the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to approve the system as soon as possible as it would make the government cut costs in COVID-19 testing.

Gordon commended the HTAC for making sure the test is “perfect” but he urged them to approve it at the earliest time possible.

The saliva test only needs saliva specimen individuals. This would be taken with less pain compared to a swab test as the person “would only need to drool.”

Gordon added the alternative COVID-19 test is also economical as it does not need a skilled professional to take the specimen.

Expensive collection vials with transport media and procurement of swab kits are also not required.

“The best news in fact, is that saliva tests are cheaper by at least half the price since there is a cheaper labor cost, few equipment and reagents to be used in a lesser running time conclusive and concordant with the swab tests,” PRC chair & CEO Senator Richard Gordon said.

A saliva test highly eases the process and time consumed, as the shelf life of samples in room temperature lasts up to seven days.

Swab samples can only last three days and require a cold chain equipment with 20, needing refrigerators and cold boxes for transport and storage.

PRC is the leading private COVID-19 testing laboratory in the country with more than 1 million tests conducted since 14 April 2020.

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