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Gordon pushes for more COVID-19 saliva tests in the countryside

Gordon pushes for more COVID-19 saliva tests in the countryside

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Richard Gordon said he is pushing for the use of saliva tests for COVID-19 in provinces in efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC), chaired by Gordon, launched the saliva test kit over a year ago, which it described as less invasive.

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“The problem with the antigen test is that… if you test positive, you can be a false positive. That’s why it’s better to use the RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) swab test, but the saliva test is undoubtedly cheaper. I am pushing for [saliva tests] in provinces,” Gordon said in Filipino during a recent interview on the weekly radio show of Vice President Leni Robredo.

Red Cross’ COVID-19 saliva test is P2,000, while the RT-PCR costs around P3,800 to P5,000, according to the group’s website.

Gordon also suggested that the Department of Health (DOH) consider the use of saliva tests instead of the self-administered antigen tests to bolster its testing capacity.

Earlier in the month, the DOH said that COVID-19 testing will focus on diagnosing health workers, senior citizens and those with co-morbidities. Asymptomatic close contacts do not need to be tested, it said.

On Monday, DOH posted 24,938 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s total number of infections of 3,442,056.

Majority of 97% of the new cases occurred from January 11 to 24. During this period, Metro Manila, the epicenter of the surge driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, has the highest number of additional infections at 15%, followed by Calabarzon at 14% and Central Visayas at 11%.

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