COVID-19 ECHO Session #22: Self-Collection of Nasal Specimens

September 19, 2020

On 17 September 2020, this COVID-19 ECHO session was convened to discuss self-collection of nasal specimens as a means to lowering the barrier to SARS-CoV-2 testing and access to care. Diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 remains a challenge today, even months since the outbreak of the pandemic and with the emergence of several innovations. In the first weeks of the epidemic in the U.S., it became clear that specimen collection was severely limited by shortages of nasopharyngeal swabs, viral transport media, medical personnel to collect specimens, and personal protective equipment to prevent the exposure of healthcare works while collecting specimens. The knowledge that a simple nasal swab made of spun polyester, which may be manufactured inexpensively and at high capacity, together with the finding that a swab may be stably stored and transported to the lab for testing in a dry tube, without cold chain, has lowered the barrier to specimen collection and is enabling of self-collection at a low resource clinic, home or workplace. In this session participants learn about how inexpensive, pre-positioned collection kits, comprised of polyester nasal swabs, simple tubes and collection instructions, could broaden access to SARS-CoV-2 testing around the world; how nasal swabs could be useful for rapid diagnostic tests and molecular testing of other pathogens; and how the collection kit and dry tube, could enable self-collection from other sites like the tongue, for molecular tests of tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections. Please follow the links posted here to view the recorded video session on ASLM’s YouTube channel. The presentation slides and Q&A for this session is pending. Please check back for updates.