The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in Bohol started to offer its cheaper and less invasive saliva-based coronavirus testing on Tuesday.
PRC Bohol administrator Merlinda Batoy said that the saliva testing is priced at P2,000 per test, which is P1,800 cheaper than nasopharyngeal swab testing.
Like the nasopharyngeal swab, saliva tests also undergo the RT-PCR technique, which is the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.
“Saliva (testing) is less invasive kay dili na man kulitugon imong ilong, imong baba. Gold standard pud siya,” Batoy said.
Negative saliva test results are accepted by local government units for the issuance of acceptance letters to travelers, she added.
However, the test is still not covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
“Ang atong saliva wala pa siyay Philhealth, ongoing pa ang pag process and I hope and pray na ma kuha nato successfully ang package sa Philhealth,” Batoy said.
Saliva testing has been touted as the faster coronavirus testing method which is supposed to yield results in three to four hours, but this would not be the case for Bohol for now.
Batoy said samples taken in the province will be sent to the PRC office in Mandaue City extending the waiting period for the results to up to 40 hours.
The PRC is still in talks with the provincial government for a possible partnership that would allow them to have their samples processed at the province’s containerized molecular laboratory.
“Sa atoang pagbisita sa atoang Provincial Government of Bohol with the honorable Gov. Art Yap, dako siya og interest ug willing siya na mo partner with Red Cross,” said Batoy.
The PRC is accepting online bookings and walk-in clients.
They are also offering off-site services in which their personnel will go to an area to take samples from clients. (A. Doydora)