Saliva Samples for COVID-19 Testing Eyed by Filipino Experts

The Philippine government is considering saliva as a sample alternative for COVID-19 PCR testing. This comes after the US government’s approval for the use of saliva-based testing.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire stated that a panel of local health experts have already begun deliberating on this new method for around a month now. Part of the panel’s studies is observing the current application of saliva-based sample collection in other countries and whether or not it is appropriate to the Filipino context. Vergeire announced that the panel will share their findings to the public as soon as possible.

Not a Testing Method

The Health Undersecretary wishes to clarify that this is not a testing method. It is a different means of collecting samples. The saliva collected will still undergo the same processs under the RT-PCR testing. While it is less invasive than our current nasal swab method, there are other factors to take into consideration. The panel has already expressed the possibility that saliva-based method may be more tedious for healthcare workers. This is due to the food particles and other debris found in the patients’ saliva which could complicate the PCR process.

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