Oropharyngeal swabs are the most commonly used method for diagnosing viral infections. While they may seem convenient and fast, the truth is that they are less reliable. Here’s how they work and why you should have them collected by a professional. Let’s start by examining the methods. Oropharyngeal swabs should be collected by a healthcare professional. Nasopharyngeal swabs, on the other hand, should be collected by a trained professional.
False-negative rate of oropharyngeal swabs is high
Among the four types of oral swabs, oropharyngeal swab is the least desirable specimen because of its high false-negative rate. While saliva specimens exhibit good performance, they have high false-negative rate due to patient variability. A more effective alternative to oropharyngeal swabs is the use of microneedle patches. Combined with a unique antibody against the viral spike protein, microneedle patches have a dual capability of mucus penetration and active virus capture.
In a recent study, NP and MN oropharyngeal swab samples showed similar differences in false-negative rates. The MN swab had a lower false-negative rate, 91% versus 100%. This study is not conclusive, however, as it is difficult to draw a reliable conclusion from these results. In addition, the swab material was not reported and its transport was not addressed in the study.
NP swabs are easier to collect
Oropharyngeal NP stains are less painful and more accurate than swabs collected from the nasal or bronchi. The difference lies in the depth of the sample. A deep sample may cause sneezing and gagging, which could aerosolize the virus. However, healthcare workers wear protective gear while running NP swabs. Saliva collection does not pose a problem.
Both the NP and AN swab may have lower sensitivity for detection of SARS-CoV-2. Sensitivity varies depending on a number of factors, including sample quality, presence of interfering substances, and delayed/inappropriate transport conditions. Therefore, healthcare providers should carefully evaluate the pros and cons of each swab type.
NP swabs require professional collection
Nasopharyngeal swabs (NP swabs) require a physician’s collection for accurate diagnosis. They are the primary specimen for testing respiratory pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2. Unfortunately, there is no consensus about the best method for collection and nomenclature. As a result, the procedure is often uncomfortable for the patient. Fortunately, FDA-approved products are available for self-sampling.
While NP swabs can be collected by a physician, self-collected samples perform similarly to those from a lab technician. However, one study did not account for the self-collection of NP swabs, as the sample was collected near the end of the patient’s stay in the hospital. The NP detection rate was extremely low, which may have influenced the estimations. Regardless of the methods used, however, these findings suggest that NP swabs should be collected by a professional.
Nasopharyngeal swabs require professional collection
Before the introduction of new methods for collecting nasopharyngeal swabs, the practice was done in a non-sterile environment, where aerosol and droplets from patients may be present. Close contact between healthcare professionals and COVID-19 patients can also result in respiratory tract infection. In order to prevent the risk of such infections, the fever clinic of our institution established a dedicated room for sampling and implemented infection control measures. These measures proved to be highly effective in reducing the risk of acquiring respiratory tract infections.
In addition, a trained health care worker must collect the specimens. Nasopharyngeal swabs require professional collection, since the patient must be uncomfortable and have protective equipment. There is no consensus regarding the optimal NP swab collection method, but the procedure is considered to be safe for patients. The aim is to minimize the risk of exposure and depletion of personal protective equipment for health care workers. However, the practice of home-collected swabs may lead to the early detection of COVID-19 in the community.
NP swabs are more sensitive than OP swabs
NP swabs are more sensitive to HIV infection, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. However, there are differences between these two swabs. OP swabs had a lower Ct value than NP swabs. The difference is significant, and this finding warrants further investigation. NP swabs are more sensitive than OP swabs.
During the clinical diagnosis of patients with suspected IDS, clinicians should collect NP or OP swabs. NP swabs have higher sensitivity than OP swabs, and OP swabs have a lower sensitivity. A recent review of 14 influenza virus studies suggests that NP swabs are more sensitive than OP swabs. However, only limited data are available for comparing NP and OP swabs for SARS-CoV-2.