The Philippine Red Cross is scheduled to launch coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) tests using saliva to more than 1,000 health workers in the country. 

Testing the health workers is one of the Department of Health’s (DOH) requirements to approve the new testing method.

Saliva testing is a faster, easier and cheaper substitute to the swab test since it is simpler and requires less processing, according to PRC.

The PRC teamed up with 15 DOH hospitals in Metro Manila to implement the saliva reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test pilot.

“Prerequisite to the DOH’s requirements, we will test medical frontliners as they are the most exposed to the virus. The saliva testing can pave the way to a faster, easier, and cheaper process,” PRC chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon said.

The PRC already conducted pilot testing of the saliva RT-PCR with Senator Gordon while demonstrating how the process works.

This new testing method will be priced at P2,000 with a turnaround time of three to four hours.

Gordon highlighted that the new saliva tests are a game-changer since the process is less invasive.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered for the use of saliva testing, referencing Gordon’s statement that the new test is 99% accurate.  

Meanwhile, the DOH explained that the saliva tests for Covid-19 must undergo further study. Ronald dela Cruz