Monday, January 11, the Philippine Red Cross begins its pilot saliva testing for the coronavirus disease, a faster and cheaper way to detect infection.
The PRC will conduct 1,000 saliva COVID-19 tests as part of its study.
According to Dr. Paulyn Ubial, Head of PRC Biomolecular Laboratories, the cheaper COVID-19 test is found to have a ‘95% concordance rate’ with the RT-PCR test.
“We are told to fast track the 1,000 additional samples that we will do as part of our pilot implementation next week Monday,” Ubial said.
PRC Chairman, Sen. Richard Gordon said, saliva tests would ease the financial burden on the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), which pays the Red Cross for the swab tests of its members, particularly returning overseas Filipino workers.
A saliva test carried out by the Red Cross would cost only P2,000, half the price of a swab test, Gordon noted.
The PRC has conducted over 1.6 million COVID-19 tests, as of Sunday.