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ATTN: The Less Invasive, Less Expensive (And Less Uncomfortable!) Saliva COVID Test Is Now Available

Here's everything you need to know about the breakthrough in COVID testing that could bring the world a step closer to ending the pandemic

After half a year since the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a saliva-based COVID testing kit developed by Yale University, the Philippine Red Cross is now authorized to use the product in the Philippines—and Filipinos should rejoice!


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It's cause for celebration as the approval of a saliva-based COVID testing kit poses a handful of benefits that medical front liners and the general public alike can appreciate.


First, there's the fact that they're more economical. The saliva-based kits are priced at P2,000 whereas existing test kits that have dominated the market since 2020 are almost at least double that amount, costing P3,800 to P5,000. A less expensive kit means a potential increase in the number of people that can be tested, resulting in a more accurate and complete COVID case profile of a community (and perhaps enhanced contact tracing, too). 


Second, they're much less uncomfortable. Many people are naturally deterred by the idea of a much-longer-than-usual swab/Q-tip being stuck up their noses, but with the arrival of the saliva-based test kits, they won't have to worry about that at all (kids can also be more easily tested now that the fear factor has been banished). This time, all that's required is to collect a small sample of saliva in a sterile vial, and like passing a test paper to the front of the class when you're done, all you have to do is submit your vial to a PCR lab (or to your physicians that can do so for you). This means that yes, the tests are self-administered. 


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Third, because the saliva-based test kits are self-administered, this lessens contact between patients and medical staff and decreases the possibility of disease transmission. Less person-to-person exposure is always good for everyone at this time.


Fourth, though saliva-based test kits' results accuracy is not as high as that of traditional COVID tests, medical professionals still maintain confident in them. (Saliva test results' accuracy is at 98.11% whereas traditional tests are at 99%). Results also come out just as quickly—within three hours.

 

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Saliva-based test kits are currently being used by health centers and hospitals, but should soon make their way to airports to ease the burden on travelers. Metro Manila is the first area in the country to have the new test kits available with other regions set to follow suit this month. 


For those who wish to get tested for COVID via the saliva-based test, they can book appointments here


Opening images from Pexels