The Department of Health has approved the Philippine Red Cross’ (PRC) proposal to use saliva specimens for Covid-19 tests, an official said on Saturday.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the tests would be allowed in PRC laboratories only.

“Nakipagpanayam po tayo with the Philippine Red Cross they presented their results dito po sa ating laboratory experts panel at napagkasunduan naman po, it was agreed by the laboratory experts panel na puwede nang payagan,” she said.

“Pero ang kondisyon po ng lab experts sa mga PRC laboratories muna gagamitin dahil kailangan pa ho nating antayin iyong resulta naman po ng validation test ng RITM para magamit po ng iba nating laboratoryo sa bansa,” Vergeire added.

Sen. Richard Gordon earlier said that saliva-based tests were less expensive, faster and 99-percent effective.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Jan. 5 gave his approval on the use of saliva-based Covid-19 tests in the country due to their high accuracy and painless administration.

Saliva-based tests require an individual to spit into a sterile tube, which will be brought to a laboratory for processing.

The same machines used for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests are used to process saliva tests. John Ezekiel J. Hirro