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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Saliva test finally begins

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The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will be conducting 1,000 saliva COVID-19 tests starting on Monday as part of its study, an official said Sunday.

PRC Chairman and Senator Richard Gordon

The cheaper COVID-19 test has been found to have a "95 percent concordance rate" with the RT-PCR test, Dr. Paulyn Ubial, head of PRC biomolecular laboratories, said.

The non-government organization presented this option to the Department of Health in October but received feedback just this month, he said.

“Now, they're allowing us to release 1,000 additional samples that we'll begin with Senator Richard Gordon as our pilot in our implementation Monday,” said Ubial in Filipino in an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

“We hope we'll complete the tests on the 1,000 samples, and send the results to the Department of Health next week,” she said.

Gordon, chairman of the PRC, said PhilHealth would be "relieved" by the cheaper COVID-19 test. The embattled state insurer's debt to Red Cross for coronavirus testing has again nearly reached P1 billion.

He said the new test would cost P2,000 instead of P4,000, and the price could go lower if many are tested.

Gordon said the PhilHealth made a partial payment of P265,000 last week, leaving over P651 million in outstanding debt to the PRC.

The PRC has conducted over 1.6 million COVID-19 tests, as of Sunday, he said.

The country is using RT-PCR and antigen modes of testing to detect COVID-19.

The country logged 1,906 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the total to 487,690, as five laboratories failed to submit their data on time, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.

The DOH reported 8,592 newly-recovered patients with the government’s “mass recovery adjustment,” bringing the total recoveries to 458,198, which is 94 percent of the total cases.

The DOH also reported eight new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 9,405 cases, which is 1.93 percent of the total cases.

The DOH also reported 20,087 active cases, which is 4.1 percent of the total cases.

Of the active cases, 83 percent are mild; 5.8 percent are asymptomatic; 6.8 percent are critical; 3.7 percent are severe; and 0.63 percent are moderate.

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