The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said it plans to use a saliva test for a cheaper and faster COVID-19 testing in the country.
Senator Richard Gordon, who is also the chairman of PRC, said Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) experts are working on using saliva in COVID-19 tests.
“A person will just spit in a small bottle, which will be tested and the results will be available within the day,” Gordon said.
Diane Ranoa, a Filipino doctor based in the USA and working at the University of Illinois established the COVID-19 saliva test, which the US Food and Drug Authority (FDA) has approved.
“We hope that it will be approved soon. It will be a great comfort, especially in the provinces, as it will be cheaper,” Gordon added.
The patient undertaking the saliva test would need to gargle a saline solution and spit into a vial.
The specimen then would be examined using a small spectral device that lights the samples and analyzes the reaction if consistent with COVID-19.
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Red Cross eyes using COVID-19 saliva test
“You can book in any Red Cross center you want to go to. Online booking will prevent long waiting. You get a schedule from 24 to 48 hours. Tests will be conducted nationwide,” he said.
Gordon said Red Cross Centers in Mandaluyong and Port Area have 22 machines and can accommodate several patients.
He added the PRC already conducted more than one million tests nationwide as of yesterday.
“As we keep moving forward, we look back and see how far we’ve come. We never knew we’d make it this far, but in our heart of hearts, we knew that the country needs us more than ever. The Philippine Red Cross will always be here doing what is best for our countrymen, especially the most vulnerable members in our society,” he said.
Red Cross has 21 laboratories across the country with a total combined capacity of 42,000 COVID-19 tests per day.