In a statement, the DOH said the studies are led by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), following a “growing” evidence on the potential of saliva as a specimen for testing.
“Recently there has been growing evidence on the potential of saliva as an alternative specimen for Covid-19 testing and the DOH recognizes the potential use of saliva as a specimen for SARS-CoV-2 detection through RT-PCR,” the statement read.
The existing modes of specimen collection for testing are nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs.
READ: Palace says saliva-based Covid-19 test ‘good alternative’
The RITM has yet to conclude its study. Meantime, the PRC has yet to consider the recommendations of the DOH and the Covid-19 Laboratory Expert Panel (CLEP) based on its initial results.
The results of both studies will be assessed by the CLEP and the Health Technology Assessment Council, according to the DOH.
The council will then issue recommendations that will help the department develop an evidence-based policy on the use of saliva as an alternative specimen for the tests.
As for the specimen pooling strategies, the department issued interim guidelines on the conduct of Covid-19 pooled testing based on the protocols set by the Philippine Society of Pathologists, Inc., RITM, and the DOH.
The DOH said specimen pooling strategy is an opportunity for “greater Covid-19 testing efficiency by reducing turnaround time and saving on supplies”
Source: Philippines News agency