People might soon be able to perform their own test swabs for Covid-19 at home with a newly designed, Q-tip-style swab, the US Food and Drug Administration said today.
The FDA said it had worked with US Cotton to design the swabs, which are shorter than the swabs used by technicians, doctors or nurses to collect samples to test people for Covid-19 infection.
The swabs currently used are long and must be directed deep into the nose -- a process that is uncomfortable and can make people sneeze potentially infectious particles.
The new swab is shorter and can collect a sample from the front of the nose, the FDA said.
“The type of testing at the front of the nose used in this study is notable because it allows self-collection by patients thereby limiting exposure of healthcare providers; it is more comfortable for patients and it can be performed by a swab that is more readily available and manufacturable at scale,” the FDA said in a statement.
The FDA also said US Cotton plans to manufacture large quantities of these swabs.
Commercially available cosmetic Q-tips are not suitable for use in testing because their cotton fibers absorb too much snot.