Do Not Use At-Home COVID Test Swabs in the Throat: FDA

Monday, January 10, 2022 — The FDA is warning that the swabs that come with at-home rapid antigen COVID-19 tests should be used in the nose, not the throat.

issued the warning in Twitter In response to reports that some people are using nasal swabs to take samples from their throats and post their results on social media using the hashtag #SwabYourThroat. This trend began after early research indicated that saliva might be a better method for detecting the Omicron variant.

An FDA spokesperson said: “The FDA advises that COVID-19 tests should be used as authorized, including following their instructions for use regarding obtaining a sample for testing.” CNN.

“The FDA has noted safety concerns regarding self-collection of throat swabs, as they are more complicated than nasal swabs – and if used incorrectly, they can cause patient harm,” the spokesperson said. “The CDC recommends that throat swabs be collected by a trained health care provider.”

The best thing you can do is follow the instructions on the test kit, said Dr. Emily Falk, president of the College of American Pathologists. CNN.

“The test is designed for the set of samples they describe in the instructions, so any deviation from that, you won’t get the expected results,” Falk said.

Throat swabs are common in some countries, but most self-tests for COVID-19 in the United States require nasal samples.

Sten Vermond, a pediatrician and infectious disease epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health, said throat swabs may turn out to be an effective way to collect material for tests. CNN. “But that data is not there yet.”

Another expert agreed.

“Even if you thought you would be more likely to detect the virus in this way, you don’t know,” said Dr. Graham Snyder, MD, medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. CNN.

“The test will not perform better if you use it differently than the instructions say,” Snyder said. “We also know from a lot of data during the pandemic that nose swabs are very good, so I’m not sure you should give yourself a throat swab.”

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