Efficacy of Unsupervised Self-Collected Mid-Turbinate FLOQSwabs for the Diagnosis of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Viruses. 2021 Aug 22;13(8):1663. doi: 10.3390/v13081663.


The Global Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has resulted in explosive patterns of transmission in most countries. Nasopharyngeal swabs were the specimen's collection tools recommended for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and for monitoring infection outbreaks in communities. Our objective was to report the quality and efficacy of unsupervised self-collected mid turbinate "dry FLOQSwabs" (MT FLOQSwabs) (56380CS01, Copan). There were 111 specimens collected for the study: 36 by health care personnel, from themselves, to verify the quality and efficacy of mid-turbinate swabs; 75 to compare and assess the diagnostic performance, among health care personnel, of nasopharyngeal swabs and self-collected mid-turbinate FLOQSwabs. A collection of 51 specimens was enrolled to define the efficacy of the Testami program (validation). Our analyses demonstrate that self-collected mid-turbinate dry swabs ensure an accuracy of 97.3%, as compared to the standard nasopharyngeal swabs collected by health care workers. Furthermore, the mid-turbinate FLOQSwabs can be stored without medium for six days at room temperature without affecting the molecular diagnosis of the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. Self-collection of diagnostic specimens at home could offer an avenue to increase testing availability for SARS-CoV-2 infection without asking people to travel to a clinic or a laboratory, thus reducing people's exposure to infection. Our findings demonstrate that unsupervised self-collection swabs, transported dry, are sensitive, practical and easy-to-use tools and should be considered for diagnosis of SARS-COV-2 and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveillance.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; dry swab; surveillance; unsupervised self-collection.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing*
  • Humans
  • Nasopharynx / virology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Specimen Handling* / instrumentation
  • Specimen Handling* / methods
  • Turbinates / virology*