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MAASIN CITY, March 10 (PIA) -- Whatever tests that turned out positive with regards to Covid-19 should be treated with caution, be it saliva, RT-PCR swab, antigen, or rapid diagnostic tests, according to a top official of the Philippine Red Cross.

Dr. Paulyn Ubial, head of a molecular laboratory and Secretary-General of the humanitarian organization Philippine Red Cross, issued this advice in an atmosphere of felt reluctance in using saliva test to determine the presence of the pandemic virus in a person.

“We err on the side of caution, we should treat positive results (by whatever means) with caution,” Ubial pointed out in a virtual press conference at the city gym Wednesday last week, as part of the Red Cross-initiated saliva test launching.

Ubial was responding to persistent queries, arguably bordering on doubts, over the effectiveness and accuracy of DOH-approved saliva test as compared to the RT-PCR test, which is generally considered the gold standard in knowing whether a person is afflicted with Covid or not.

She described as statistically insignificant differences in results of those going the saliva and the swab tests, or why a person was positive in the saliva but negative in RT-PCR, and vice versa, adding that Senator Richard Gordon, Red Cross chair, was the first to be tested in the country last January 12.

City Mayor Nacional Mercado, who attended the saliva test launching, expressed hope both the Red Cross and the DOH synchronize results for recording purposes of the LGU.

Red Cross chapter administrator Jonas Maco assured that they will closely coordinate with the DOH and the LGU for proper reporting.

The saliva test launching was the first activity of such kind conducted in the entire Region 8, Maco reported, adding that results can be out in under 24 hours after submission of the collected specimen to the laboratory.

Collecting saliva is an alternate to the swab test and it is cheaper at P2,000 compared with more than P4,000 for the swab test, Maco said.

Indigent individuals who may want to undergo Covid test for whatever purposes may avail of the Red Cross’ saliva test, the cost to be charged to a standby fund of P200,000 set aside by Cong. Roger Mercado, chairman of the Board of Directors of the provincial charter, Maco further said. (ldl/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)