Researchers found that the viral load of COVID-19 was consistently high in the saliva, which makes it a good source of samples for testing.
However, this also means that saliva from a person with COVID-19 can infect other people. This is another reason why wearing a face mask is important to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The current state of COVID-19 testing in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the available options for testing are few and can take a long time to get results.
Right now, 3 types of tests are available in the country. First is the RT-PCR or the swab test. Second is the rapid test kit, which uses blood samples to test for antibodies. The third available test is the rapid antigen test.
The rapid test kit, like its name implies, can provide the results faster. Compared to the RT-PCR, the rapid test kit is also cheaper. However, the test’s accuracy is affected by timing, as its chances of missing a true COVID-19 infection are high when it is given or taken too early.
Rapid COVID-19 tests measure the level of antibodies produced during an infection. If the person has just recently been exposed or infected, they may not have enough antibodies to produce an accurate result. Thus, false negatives are possible with this mode of testing. The accuracy of the test kit also depends on the manufacturer.
On the other hand, the RT-PCR is more accurate, and can detect COVID-19 even in asymptomatic patients. But the challenge is that it takes longer for the results to come out, and is also prone to human error. It can also show false-positive as well as false-negative results.
The RT-PCR is also more expensive, and not all laboratories have the equipment necessary for this type of test.
Because of these limitations, not everyone can receive COVID-19 tests. Those who are suspected of carrying the virus or who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, as well as the elderly, frontliners, and people in high-risk groups, are higher on the priority list.