As COVID-19 spreads, medical researchers continue to search for ways to make the testing methods more accurate and efficient. Currently, the standard type of testing for COVID-19 is PCR testing, which involves the examination of RNA for antigens. This allows medical professionals to detect COVID-19 early on, helping them treat patients and prevent further spread of the illness.
In vitro testing options rely on samples of blood or mucus from the bodies of patients. While these methods are currently labeled under Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA thanks to the urgent need for testing and treatment, you may need to overcome supply issues to test high volumes of patients.
These options will provide you with alternatives in the event that a type of swab, media or component becomes unavailable.
Specimen Collection Swabs
Specimen collection swabs play an important role in gathering mucus from patients so doctors can determine whether or not they have COVID-19. In most cases, the doctor swabs the inside of the nose or mouth and then places the swab into a tube or vial for testing.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), multiple types of swabs are suitable for COVID-19 tests, including:
- Nasopharyngeal swabs
- Oropharyngeal swabs
- Flocked tapered swabs
- Mid-turbinate swabs
- Anterior nares swabs
- Spun polyester swabs
- Round foam swabs
Mercedes Scientific provides testing options that can help you better manage potential COVID-19 patients. For example, we offer the ENI MTM04 Virus Sampling Kit, which comes with both a 10mL transport medium and a nasal flocked swab. Before you choose a swab for your application, it’s important to make sure it is compatible with the platform and the body part being tested.
Specimen Collection Media
When you need safe and sterile transport media for a COVID-19 test, there are a few options you can choose from. These include:
- Viral transport media (VTM)
- Inactivating transport media
- Liquid amies-based media
- A normal or phosphate-buffered saline solution
Transport media such as the ENI PSMTM3 PrimeStore® 3mL Vial, ENI PSMTM4 PrimeStore® 4mL Vial, and the ENI PSMTM5 PrimeStore® 5mL Vial can help you move samples safely to their proper location. These vials offer a 1.5ml fill, which makes them ideal for multipurpose applications. These different COVID-19 testing options give you more flexibility, allowing you to provide better testing accuracy for patients.
The FDA has issued a warning for certain types of collection media. Inactivating transport media can be hazardous if handled incorrectly. Some types of PrimeStore® inactivation transport media contain guanidine thiocyanate and similar guanidine chemicals, which react with bleach to create cyanide gas. This is a dangerous reaction that can compromise your safety in the lab, so it’s important to take reasonable precautions before using this inactivating specimen collection media.
Use Your Resources to Conduct Efficient COVID-19 Tests
There are several safe alternatives you can use in PCR testing to achieve high-quality results. The FDA names multiple systems, tools and solutions that can be used to handle patient samples. This ensures that, if a shortage does occur, you can consider alternative options.
Contact us or check the FDA’s list of alternatives for more information on COVID-19 testing options.