A search of PubMed, Embase, MEDLINE, Web of Science, medRxiv, bioRxiv, SSRN, and Research Square from Jan 1, 2000, to Nov 16, 2020 was conducted. Original clinical studies that examined the performance of nasopharyngeal swabs and any additional respiratory specimens for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection among individuals presenting in ambulatory care were include in the review.
A comparably high positive predictive value was obtained by pooled nasal and throat (97%, 90–100) and nasal swabs (96%, 87–100). Self-collection for pooled nasal and throat swabs and nasal swabs was not associated with any significant impairment of diagnostic accuracy.
Nasal swabs gave comparable and very good diagnostic performance and are clinically acceptable alternative specimen collection methods.