EDITORIAL: All Saliva But No Kits



Amid a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus that necessitated a reimposition of enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna provinces) the importance of testing gadgets is highlighted more than ever.


Side by side with the intensified vaccination activities, increased testing for the presence of the dreaded virus has already become a must. What is concerning is the deafening silence about the functionalization of the saliva testing, which has been approved by the Department of Health (DOH).


This has been bruited about as the most practical, less expensive and less inconvenient procedure as against the RT-PCR or swab test. Indeed, whatever happened to the much ballyhooed plan of setting up a saliva testing laboratory in Naga City, upon the initiative of the Philippine Red Cross?


This is being asked in the light of the pronouncement of Clamrence R. Abada, PRC Camarines Sur Officer –in- Charge, that such gadget will be put up once the final guidelines are released. This uplifting announcement has been confirmed by the DOH, which granted approval to PRC to use the saliva specimen for RT-PCR testing right at its chapter office in Panganiban Drive, Naga City.


PRC will use Sansure kit for the saliva test with each test costing Php 2,000, according to Abada, as quoted by “PIA V”, in a news released several weeks back.


According to the news release, Senator Dick Gordon, Chairman and Chief Executive of PRC, stated in a memorandum that the saliva test is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIIC) and the University of the Philippines (UP).


Gordon even asserted confidently that this type of testing protocol “will significantly expand the country’s capability to test for the virus especially among our students and workforce. Our intention is to beat the Covid-19 pandemic by ferreting out those who test positive so we can quickly isolate them in quarantine areas or send them to hospitals for treatment and more importantly, to resume both academic and economic activities,” he said.


How come then that efforts to put up a saliva testing center in Naga City are being foot dragged?


According to information reaching us, certain characters manning the checkpoint at Del Gallego Camarines Sur refuse or hesitate to honor documents presented by travellers consisting of saliva testing results issued by a Metro Manila-based saliva testing center.


On the other hand, some honored the certification. This confusion would have been avoided had the planned putting up of a saliva testing center at the PRC headquarters in Naga City been implemented with dispatch.


Or are we just contented with all saliva but without testing kits?