Proper diagnosis of a disease is only possible when the standard procedure is correctly followed using the right tools. The same thing applies in the case of COVID-19.
When this infection was in its early stages and had just started spreading like fire, people began to panic a lot as they were clueless about this novel disease. They didn’t know about how to proceed with the testing, what samples should be tested, what are required for detecting the pathogen and many more question that needed an answer.
So to pacify the situation, CDC came up with a guideline that could help the health workers in collecting the suspected samples without getting themselves infected by the virus.
In the guidelines, the CDC recommends collecting and testing an upper respiratory nasopharyngeal swab(NP), for the initial diagnosis of COVID-19. The next priority is given to the oropharyngeal swabs and if collected, they should be combined in the same tube as the NP. All the swab specimens are advised to be collected as soon as possible once a PUI (Person under investigation) is identified, regardless of the time of symptom onset. The CDC has also mentioned testing the lower respiratory tract specimen, if available.
It becomes very essential to know the right swab to use.
The CDC has also answered similar queries like this and clearly mentioned the specific type of swab that must be used when testing for COVID-19. As outlined in the guidelines, health workers should only use synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts, like the TM MEDIA TMC 034. The CDC has advised to avoid calcium alginate swabs or swab with wooden shafts. The reason is that these may contain some substances which can inactivate some viruses and inhibit the PCR testing.
According to the CDC Interim guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical specimens for COVID-19, it is instructed to place the swabs after collection, immediately into sterile tubes containing 3ml of Viral Transport Media. It is important to place the swab individually in separate vials to avoid possible rejection of the specimen.
• Collecting Nasopharyngeal Sample
• Collecting Oropharyngeal Sample
TM MEDIA provides a complete kit for testing COVID-19 specimens, that includes the Universal Transport Medium and Nasopharyngeal/Oropharyngeal swabs. All the kits are customized in a way to make them compatible with the CDC recommended configurations.