Sampling site for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR-An intrapatient four-site comparison from Tampere, Finland

This article was originally published here

PLoS One. 2021 Nov 16;16(11):e0260184. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0260184. eCollection 2021.


BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis relies on the performance of nasopharyngeal swabs. Alternative sample sites have been assessed but the heterogeneity of the studies have made comparing different sites difficult.

OBJECTIVES: Our aim was to compare the performance of four different sampling sites for SARS-CoV-2 samples with nasopharynx being the benchmark.

STUDY DESIGN: COVID-19 positive patients were recruited prospectively, and samples were collected and analysed for SARS-CoV-2 with RT-PCR from all four anatomical sites in 43 patients, who provided written informed consent.

RESULTS: All anterior nasal and saliva samples were positive, while two oropharyngeal samples were negative. There was no significant difference in the cycle threshold values of nasopharyngeal and anterior nasal samples while saliva and oropharynx had higher cycle threshold values.

CONCLUSIONS: Anterior nasal swab performs as good as nasopharynx swab with saliva also finding all the positives but with higher cycle threshold values. Thus, we can conclude that anterior nasal swabs can be used for SARS-CoV-2 detection instead of nasopharyngeal swabs if the situation would require so.

PMID:34784386 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0260184