Covid-19: Penang factories begin testing with Deep Throat Saliva method


BUTTERWORTH: Factories here have dived throat-first into the on-site polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing using the Deep Throat Saliva method.

The move to allow mass screening of manufacturing sector workers in Penang using the Deep Throat Saliva method is to help contain Covid-19 cases before new clusters form in the sector.

Menara Kerjaya Fastening Sdn Bhd general manager Sim Saw Beng said all 111 of his workers, including himself, will be tested at his factory.

His is the fifth factory in the state to test workers since the initiative started on Saturday (May 22).

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang chairman Datuk Jimmy Ong said there are 400,000 factory workers in the state.

"As it is up to individual companies to come on board and test their workers, we do not know if all will opt for this method.

"It is a cost effective approach, as they will only have to spend RM60 per person rather than RM200 to RM250 when being privately tested.

"This is a different method of testing, as we follow a "pool testing method", meaning the workers are grouped together based on if they stay together, work in the same department or use the same transportation," he said.

Ong said the test's accuracy is similar to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and the results can be obtained within 24 hours.

In Feb this year, the Health Ministry approved the usage of “deep throat saliva” as Covid-19 test samples.

Using this method, those taking their Covid-19 test will have to draw out saliva from within their throat, which will then be spat out into a specimen cup.

This is an alternative way to collect samples from a patient, other than the usual “swab test” method.

“This deep throat saliva sampling method is safe and not invasive compared to the nasopharyngeal (nose) and oropharyngeal (throat) swab.

“It will also speed up testing and increase the number of Covid-19 screenings.

“This method is also ‘self-collected’, and therefore it will save on the use of personal protective equipment, ” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

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