Naga, CamSur soon to have saliva test center

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay


NAGA CITY --- The Philippine Red Cross (PRC), Camarines Sur Chapter will put up a saliva testing laboratory in its office here once the final guidelines from its national headquarters is released.


Clamrence R. Abada, PRC Camarines Sur officer-in-charge, said that they are still waiting for additional guidelines from the PRC headquarters (HQ), especially regarding the transport of the specimen in Manila.


Abada said Sen. Richard Gordon, PRC chairman and chief executive officer, in a memorandum to all PRC chapters has confirmed the Department of Health’s (DOH) approval for PRC to use the saliva as an alternative specimen for RT-PCR testing in PRC laboratories all over the country, in its chapter office in Panganiban Drive, Naga City.


PRC will use Sansure kit for the saliva test. Each test will cost P2,000, she said.


Gordon in his memorandum said “conducted in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIIC) and the University of the Philippines (UP), PRC will use the Saliva Test as an option for cheaper, faster and non-invasive COVID-19 RT PCR test allowing more persons to get tested for COVID-19.”


He directed all chapters to fully utilize and support PRC’s saliva testing by mobilizing the Red Cross 143 volunteers in every municipality/ city to inform and assist in informing the populace regarding the availability of saliva testing.


According to Gordon, since saliva testing is self-administered and does not need medical technologists, even 143 volunteers can help in the implementation of saliva testing in all their respective areas and take samples from schools, communities, workplaces, malls and market places.


Red Cross Youth (RCY) members will also be trained on how to protect themselves and conduct activities relative to the fight against Covid-19, such as sanitation and hygiene promotion and Covid-first aid. They will also be taught to check whether the collection procedures are followed to maintain the integrity of the samples collected.


The test samples collected by the chapters will be sent to the PRC’s national HQ’s molecular laboratory.


Prior to the operation of the saliva testing laboratories, an orientation on the saliva collection and testing procedures will be conducted by the PRC HQ.


The chapter’s performance will be monitored through a daily scorecard for Covid-19 testing by the chapter development office and its national Operations Center.


“We are confident that this 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,” Gordon said. (PIAV)