Philippine Red Cross (PRC) laboratories are the only facilities the Department of Health (DOH) allowed to perform saliva testing since the procedure still involves validation.
In a Viber message to reporters, the DOH said local government units, offices, and epidemiological surveillance units recognize only the PRC labs for saliva testing, which indicates that home or do-it-yourself saliva test kits in the market are not approved.
“Saliva testing or using saliva as an alternative specimen for RT-PCR is currently being assessed for possible use nationwide,” it added.
Following the recommendation from the Covid-19 Laboratory Experts Panel, the DOH approved the use of saliva as an alternate specimen in reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing on Jan. 21.
“Simultaneously, RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) is conducting a validation study on saliva testing to further strengthen the evidence on the use of this alternative mode of sample collection and shall form as basis for the guidelines that will be followed by other laboratories who intend to use saliva as alternative specimen,” the DOH advisory said. (PNA)