Red Cross saliva testing to start Feb. 5

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The Philippine Red Cross Negros Occidental-Bacolod City Chapter will start accepting patients for COVID-19 saliva testing on Feb. 5.

The national government has already approved saliva testing as alternative in order to test coronavirus infection.

The test will be administered by the PRC Negros Occidental Molecular Laboratory.

Chapter administrator Rita Benita Mirasol said that saliva testing is an alternative to the real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test but the cost is only P2,000.

It is cheaper than the swab sample testing using RT-PCR which ranges from P3,800 to P5,000.

She said the cost of saliva test is expected to go lower if more people will avail of it.

The procedure is less invasive to get a sample for testing compared to a naso- pharyngeal swab way of testing, Mirasol explained.

Individuals will only have to spit inside a sterilized 1-milliliter vial that is sealed and documented for results.

They should not eat, drink, gargle, smoke, or vape 30 minutes before the test.

Red Cross Bacolod can also do home service for saliva test but with additional charges.

Unlike the RT-PCR test which has a turn-around time of 24 hours, processing time of the saliva test only takes three to four hours, Mirasol said.

Like the naso-pharyngeal swab test, saliva test also undergo the RT-PCR technique, which is the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.

But based on studies the saliva test is 98.11 percent accurate, she added.

PRC advised patients who wish to undergo saliva testing to properly clean their mouths by brushing correctly and avoid taking alcoholic drinks before submitting to the test.

Mirasol said that PRC Negros Occidental-Bacolod City is waiting for additional equipment to be installed in their molecular laboratory along 10th-Lacson Sts. in Bacolod City while training of medical technologist is ongoing to beat the target date of Feb. 5. – MML