Self-collection: An appropriate alternative during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

A prospective study of 236 patients comparing patient collected throat and nasal swabs, clinician collected (HCW)  throat and nasal swabs and clinician collected throat and nasopharyngeal swabs. Samples were analysed for SARS-CoV-2 as well as common respiratory viruses.

Self-collection was highly concordant with HCW collected for all viruses including SARS-CoV-2 and the mean SARS-CoV-2 E-gene and N-gene, rhinovirus and parainfluenza Ct values did not differ between HCW and SCNT.

Self-collection was also found to be easy to perform and preferred by 74% participants (survey n=70).

The study concluded that innovative ways to address the covid crisis were required and that this study provided early evidence that self-collection of throat and nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 offer an acceptable and reliable alternative to health worker collected samples. This is achieved whilst preserving critically needed PPE supplies, optimizing the time to testing and reducing exposure of health care workers to potentially infected patients.

Wehrhahn, M. C., Robson, J., Brown, S., Bursle, E., Byrne, S., New, D., Hadlow, N. (2020). Self-collection: An appropriate alternative during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Journal of Clinical Virology, 128, 104417. doi: