Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would update its guidelines, which will allow individuals to take their own swabs during the testing of the new coronavirus,media reported. The advantage of this is to reduce the suffering of the subject. On Wednesday, local time, The United Health Group released the results of a large, peer-reviewed study that provided a scientific basis for switching to a less invasive sample collection method.
The test method of sampling with a swab itself does not change the FDA-approved testing method — this extended guideline applies only to acquisition methods, which means that pcR testing in home swabs that many start-ups want to market for is still on hold. Even if people still need to go to a clinic or drive to test, the new policy will provide them with more comfortable testing, while also increasing the health and safety of clinicians and front-line health care workers.
The new study suggests that the sampling method not only reduces the chances of new coronavirus carriers transmitting the virus to health care workers, but also works just as well as the tests that clinicians take samples from deep in the patient’s nasal cavity. The study, conducted by the United Heat, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Quest Diagnostics and the University of Washington, covers nearly 500 patients tested at the OptumCare diagnostic site in Washington state.
There are other benefits to testing with swabs, such as medical professionals who do not need to be specially trained to carry out testing at the point of care.