Ilocos Norte boosts Covid-19 response with saliva testing

Ilocos Norte boosts Covid-19 response with saliva testing

LAOAG CITY – The province of Ilocos Norte is partnering with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) for the implementation of saliva testing as an alternative to the existing Covid-19 facilities here.

Edna Orcino, administrator of PRC-Ilocos Norte, said Monday that saliva tests are priced at PHP2,000 per test, which is cheaper by 50 percent than swab testing.

“Like the nasopharyngeal swab, saliva tests also undergo the RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) technique which is the gold standard for Covid-19 testing,” he said.

The PRC office here located at the Governor Roque B. Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital is already available to collect specimen samples which will be processed in accredited molecular laboratories.

As the initial rollout of the saliva testing service is limited to the PRC’s laboratory at its Mandaluyong City headquarters and its molecular laboratory in Port Area in Manila, Orcino said results are expected in 24 to 48 hours.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan also approved on Monday draft provincial resolution No. 2021-04-311, authorizing Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc to enter into a memorandum of agreement with PRC, represented by its secretary general, Elizabeth Zavalla.

The provincial government is expected to appropriate at least PHP500,000 as an advance payment for patients to be referred by the provincial government.

As of posting time, saliva testing is now accepted in provincial border checkpoints but for patients referred to at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center, medical chief Dr. Ma. Lourdes Otayza clarified that they only do nasopharyngeal swab tests.

With a 98 percent accuracy, those who will opt for the saliva test would have to spit inside a sterile 1-milliliter vial that is sealed and documented.

For greater accuracy, eating, drinking, gargling, smoking, including vape, must be avoided 30 minutes before the test. Leilanie Adriano / PNA –