CDC Recommends Nasopharyngeal Swabs AND Oropharyngeal Swabs as Suitable for Upper Respiratory Tract Specimens for Investigations of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

On January 30th, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) held its second meeting in Geneva of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). During the meeting the committee agreed that the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), and that the PHEIC “should be seen in the spirit of support and appreciation for China, its people, and the actions China has taken on the frontlines of this outbreak, with transparency, and, it is to be hoped, with successi.” A coordinated global effort is critical in order to improve worldwide preparedness and successful measures to contain this outbreak in other regions of the world.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released an Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) recommending ”[c]ollection of three specimen types, lower respiratory, upper respiratory and serum specimens for testing” from patients under investigation (PUI) of the novel coronavirusii.

For upper respiratory specimens, the CDC is recommending nasopharyngeal washes/aspirates, nasal aspirates or to collect both a nasopharyngeal swab AND an oropharyngeal swab made of synthetic fiber with plastic applicators. Once the specimens are collected, it is recommended that the swabs are placed in 2-3 ml of viral transport mediaiii.

One of COPAN’s kits pairs 3mL of UTM® universal viral transport medium and two FLOQSwabs™: one minitip synthetic flocked swab ideal for nasopharyngeal samples and one regular synthetic flocked swab ideal of oropharyngeal samples. COPAN manufactures private label UTM® for Becton Dickinson (as UVT), Diagnostic Hybrids-Quidel, and Hardy Diagnostics (as Healthlink UTM®).

The open structure of COPAN FLOQSwabs™ acts like a soft brush that efficiently dislodges and collects cells and mucus, then releases the sample immediately when immersed in viral transport medium. COPAN flocked swabs are easy to use and less invasive causing minimal discomfort for the patient when compared to nasopharyngeal washes/aspirates or nasal washes. For more information about COPAN 3mL viral transport media or helpful videos on nasopharyngeal swab specimen collection

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