The less expensive saliva test for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) can now be used initially by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Saturday.
Vergeire said the PRC presented to experts the results of its study of saliva testing for Covid-19 last week, showing its effectiveness.
“It was agreed by the laboratory experts panel that this could be allowed,” Vergeire said at a Laging Handa briefing.
The recommendation of the expert’s panel was submitted to Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd.
Vergeire said the saliva test could be used as an alternative to the more expensive real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, which is considered the benchmark in testing Covid-19 infection in people.
However, the validation test by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine is still being awaited, which is the reason why the government has limited the use of the saliva test by the PRC.
The saliva tests costs only P1,500 to P2,000 while RT-PCR costs P3,800 to P5,000.