You put the cotton swab in the nose first, and then along the throat. For example, with a self-test you better discover whether you are infected with the corona virus, according to Belgian virologist Marc van Ranst. But is that true?
Variants of the coronavirus can be in the throat and nose. “A quick test after swabbing in the throat worked better for this person than swabbing in the nose,” writes virologist Van Ranst on Twitter. And he retweets a picture of two self-test results: only nose: negative, but throat + nose: positive. The self-tests are intended to detect infections and the throat test therefore seems to be of added value in addition to the nose test. Marc van Ranst is not the only virologist to advise it. Virologist Brian Hjelle of the renowned Johns Hopkins Institute also writes on Twitter that two days before a positive nose test with PCR, people already show a positive self-test with if they also touch the throat with the cotton swab. The health authorities in Israel already advise to take the throat with a self-test. So just do it?
In NRC, virologist Annemarie Wensing advised against to put the cotton swab of the self-test in the throat as well. “That causes confusion, because people may not take their noses,” says Wensing. “Prefer to follow the instruction manual. It indicates how the test has been validated.”
Validation means that it has been investigated whether the test gives the correct answer with sufficient certainty. A medical test never gives 100 percent certainty, but it is (normally) at its best if the package insert is followed carefully. Hence the advice from Wensing. But virologist Hjelle already wipes that argument off the table in his tweet. “Please don’t lecture me about allowed testing. I invented them.’
The NOS speaks more virologists which are also for the nose plus throat test. But don’t be too difficult about that validation, they actually say. The virus can be in the throat, so the cotton swab has to pass there. That probably won’t make the test any worse. The Dutch authorities are not yet enthusiastic about the throat test, according to the NOS. The tests must first be examined for it. Medical microbiologist Jan Kluytmans of the OMT adds that the rod can induce a gag movement.
So what about?
Many experts are positive about the use of the self-test in the nose and throat, but it is still officially advised against by the authorities. So keep an eye on the news and information.