Swabs Collected by Patients or Health Care Workers for SARS-CoV-2 Testing

A cross sectional study with 530 participants from five ambulatory clinics comparing self-collected tongue, nasal and mid turbinate  samples with clinician collected nasopharyngeal samples. All samples were submitted to a reference laboratory for reverse-transcriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) testing that yielded qualitative results (positive or negative) and cycle threshold (Ct) values for positive samples only.

Both the nasal and mid-turbinate samples were clinically acceptable on the basis of estimated sensitivities above 90% and the 87% lower bound of the confidence interval for the sensitivity of the mid-turbinate sample being close to 90%.

Adoption of techniques for sampling by patients can reduce PPE use and provide a more comfortable patient experience.

The authors stated that patient collection of samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing from sites other than the nasopharynx is a useful approach during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tu, Y.-P., Jennings, R., Hart, B., Cangelosi, G. A., Wood, R. C., Wehber, K., Berke, E. M. (2020). Swabs Collected by Patients or Health Care Workers for SARS-CoV-2 Testing. New England Journal of Medicine, 383(5), 494-496. doi:10.1056/NEJMc2016321