Should I Swab My Throat for Rapid Test? The number of new Covid-19 cases has peaked in some regions of the country, but the omicron version is still on the rise in several states, overcrowding hospitals, forcing schools to switch back to online learning, and making it difficult for businesses to keep staff on-site owing to rising infections. The surge in cases since the start of the year has put a wonderful burden on testing facilities. Which has rekindled interest in at-home testing alternatives.

Patients frequently reported having a sore throat in the early stages of the illness when the omicron form spread across the nation. As a result, there have been numerous claims made on social media that a throat swab may produce a more accurate result than the suggested nasal swab for at-home testing.

The Best Method for Swabbing for COVID-19 Tests at Home, Throat or Nose?

Should I Swab My Throat for Rapid Test? Only nasal samples are used for the validation of all self-tests approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, a small study that found test samples taken from the throat may be able to detect the presence of the virus earlier than samples taken from the nose.

The Best Method for Swabbing for COVID-19 Tests at Home

Recent coverage of the fact that Omicron tends to cause sore throats has led to an increase in online inquiries about whether people should swab their throat instead of their nose when using a rapid self-test. To acquire the most accurate reading, certain testing kits in the UK advise users to swab their throat first, followed by their nose.

Knowledge about nasal swabs

Nasal swabbing is recommended for quick examinations in the US, according to official statements. Manufacturers of the at-home quick antigen tests emphasize that their kits are developed and most accurate for testing with nasal samples. The FDA permitted the tests based on research demonstrating the effectiveness of nasal swab samples for detecting indications of SARS-CoV-2.

An Abbott representative claims that the nose swab test is 95.6% sensitive in identifying the virus in individuals within seven days of exhibiting symptoms when they are at their most contagious. Abbott produces the well-known BinaxNOW kits.

The most recent recipient of permission for its over-the-counter fast test, Siemens, declined to comment on the nasal swab vs. throat swab debate. Other than to state that its test “is not permitted for use with a throat swab or a saliva sample,” BD, another manufacturer of test kits, declined to comment.

Knowledge about nasal swabs

Recent studies further support the efficacy of this approach. The findings of a study comparing nasal swabs taken with at-home test kits with the gold-standard PCR tests, which call for deeper nasopharyngeal swabs taken by medical specialists, were published by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). They discovered that the front region of the nasal self-swabs worked nearly as well as the PCR tests.

According to the Themacforums record, their research was not peer-reviewed because it was posted on a pre-print system for academic articles. However, the large sample size and the validation offered by the PCR tests imply the validity of these findings.

A free community testing and vaccination station operated by UCSF, the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub, the Latino Task Force, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health attracted 731 participants for the study. A medical practitioner swabbed each nostril once with Abbott’s BinaxNOW quick antigen test swab and once with a lengthier PCR swab on participants who gave their consent for the study.

Should I Swab My Throat for Rapid Test? The outcomes of the two various testing techniques were compared. When individuals were highly contagious and had high amounts of virus, the fast tests were 95% sensitive in detecting Omicron cases compared to the PCR tests; the tests were less sensitive, as expected when individuals had lower quantities of virus.

nasal knowlege

These findings confirm that the at-home testing may identify those who have the Omicron version of the virus. The results further support the idea that the nose is a favorable location for gathering test samples because they closely match the PCR results.

In the next days, the group intends to test individuals by collecting samples from their noses and throats using the at-home kits and comparing the outcomes.

What proof exists for combining various COVID-19 tests?

Should I Swab My Throat for Rapid Test? There isn’t much support for combining rapid tests with nasal and throat swabs. It also heavily relies on first-person accounts. People who test positive on a throat swab after receiving a negative result from a nasal swab have been the subject of numerous social media reports. But credible, scientific investigation into these allegations is still being conducted.

What proof exists for combining various COVID-19 tests?

In the United States, fast home tests aren’t now made to check the throat. And this has to do with the pH of a sample of saliva. According to research, a quick COVID-19 test can result in a false-positive result when the sample’s pH changes. Even consuming acidic beverages close to the time the sample is collected can affect the outcome of a quick test. In addition, the mouth’s pH is by nature more acidic than the nose’s. As a result, the FDA advises against mixing tests at home until more research has been conducted.

Does COVID-19 testing with saliva tests work quickly?

Should I Swab My Throat for Rapid Test? Results from using cheek swabs were also included in Havilr’s study, and she claims that these “underperformed” when compared to the nose samples. With sensitivity in the single digits, cheek samples examined using both the fast tests and PCR missed a sizable portion of positive cases.

Does COVID-19 testing with saliva tests work quickly

However, this does not imply that saliva tests are useless. Even though saliva is present in certain cheek samples, saliva tests are different from quick self-tests in design, and the FDA has not yet approved any saliva-based COVID-19 tests that are entirely DIY. People can collect saliva at home using available test kits, but they must send the sample to a lab. Then, technicians employ particular techniques to identify the virus and eliminate any other elements in saliva that can skew the results.

Which COVID test, nasal or throat swabs, is more reliable?

The best method to test for COVID-19, particularly with the Omicron version, is still being investigated. We are aware that Omicron prefers to remain in the upper respiratory system rather than move to the lower respiratory system or the lungs. So a throat swab may have a higher chance of detecting it. But once more, the investigation is ongoing.

According to Themacforum’s recently released study, saliva swabs may be more reliable than nasal swabs at detecting the Omicron variant. However, this study focused on PCR tests rather than home-based fast tests. Because various tests operate differently, the findings might not apply to testing done at home. According to another study, PCR throat swabs could detect the virus just marginally better than nasal swabs. However, this research was conducted before the Omicron variant.

Which COVID test, nasal or throat swabs, is more reliable

Should I Swab My Throat for Rapid Test? It’s vital to remember that throat swabs are more challenging to gather. Incorrect execution could lead to inaccurate results. It might be wise to postpone the throat swabs till we have more information and do so.


Should I Swab My Throat for Rapid Test? It is still unclear if throat swabs should take the role of nasal swabs in at-home tests, especially in light of Omicron’s dominance. If throat swabs can identify Omicron earlier. That gives an infectious person one day earlier to isolate the virus and stop its transmission.

However, some professionals, especially those who specialize in the throat, concur with the FDA about the possible risks and point out that people can hurt themselves if they don’t swab properly. While others believe the risk isn’t significant enough to deter people from attempting it (after watching videos or getting some guidance.)