Gordon urges DOH to use saliva test to increase testing capacity
Senator Richard J. Gordon has urged the Department of Health (DOH) in augmenting its testing capabilities through the administration of saliva tests amidst a rise in Covid-19 cases across the country.
Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), explained that they will be offering more saliva tests across its 13 functioning molecular laboratories as a cheaper yet effective alternative to the usually uncomfortable oronasal swab variation.
“Ang advice ko sa DOH, mas maiging gamitin ang saliva test kaysa maglalagay tayo ng sariling administered [antigen test]. Puwede rin iyon, pero ang kailangan natin doon, ‘pag nag-administer ka ng antigen test, ire-report mo," mentioned Gordon during a radio interview.
“[Sa antigen test], mayroong mga false positive, false negative, kaya mabuti na ang RT-PCR pero mas murang ‘di hamak ang saliva test. Iyon ang itutulak ko sa mga probinsiya,” he added.
The PRC launched the saliva test over a year ago as a quicker and cheaper alternative to the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) swab test.
Results are expected to come out in 12 hours and is priced at Php 1,500, which is significantly cheaper than the swab test, which costs about Php 2,800, according to Gordon.
To extend its testing capabilities, the PRC partnered with motorcycle hailing app Angkas, training about 50 riders to safely bring and take saliva samples in the comfort of customers’ homes in Metro Manila.
Despite indications pointing towards a less virulent yet more transmissible variant, Gordon reiterated caution, increased testing, and discouraged intentional infection, which others believe acts as a “natural vaccine.”
“Akala niyo, bulletproof na kayo sa sakit. No. Ang dapat talaga, magpa-test. Dapat malalaman mo kung ikaw ay may sakit at iyong mga katabi mo ay ‘di magkakasakit nang dahil sa iyo,” Gordon pointed out.
“In fact, dapat nag-iisolate ka ‘pag na-expose ka. Kahit na ikaw ay nabakunahan na, ‘yan ay nakakamatay,” he continued.
The PRC remains as one of the leading responders to the pandemic, administering over 5,400,000 swab and saliva tests, according to the latest tally.
It has also partnered with leading bus companies Ceres and Victory Liner in operating five Bakuna Buses committed to bring the Covid vaccines to far-flung areas.