MANILA, Jan 13 (Mabuhay) — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Tuesday launched its saliva RT-PCR pilot testing for Covid-19 in compliance with the requirements of the Department of Health (DOH).

PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said if given the green light, the new testing method can be a game-changer in Covid-19 testing.

“It’s a game-changer. Dati hirap na hirap tayo pag tayo ay nagpapa-swab. Susundutin yung ilong, yung throat natin. Ngayon this is less invasive, napaka convenient (Before it is very difficult to undergo swab test, they will collect a sample from our nose and throat. Now this is less invasive, more convenient),” Gordon said as he led the event at the PRC Logistics and Multi-Purpose Center in Mandaluyong City.

PRC said it has partnered with 15 DOH hospitals in Metro Manila for the pilot saliva testing that will be done on some 1,000 healthcare workers in the country.

In an earlier statement, Gordon said they decided to conduct the pilot test on healthcare workers since they are the most exposed to the virus.

He said only one milliliter of saliva is needed for the test.

The subject will be provided with a small repository and a straw that will be used by the subject to collect his saliva.

“In three hours it should be over, gawin na nating five hours (let’s make it five hours). The cost is much less, its PHP2,000,” Gordon said when asked about the turnaround time of the test.

He said if the volume of people who will avail of the saliva test increases, the PRC can still lower the price.

The RT-PCR saliva test, Gordon said, is already being used in other countries like the United States and Japan.

“Walang invasion ng katawan, mas mura, mas mabilis at hindi na kailangan ng PPE. Pwede kayong puntahan sa bahay, good for the senior citizens, para sa natatakot lumabas, children (It’s not invasive, it’s less expensive, faster, and PPE is not needed. It can be done at your home. It’s good for senior citizens, those who do not want to go out, children),” Gordon said.

He said he hopes that with the saliva test, more tests will be done every day.

“Kapag ito ay pumasa, mas maraming kababayan na natin ang magkakaroon ng kakayahan na makapagpatest upang sila ay ligtas na makabalik sa trabaho (If this test approved, many will be able to afford and undergo the test so they can go back safely to work),” Gordon said. (MNS)

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