Sputum testing provides higher rate of COVID-19 detection
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In a new study published in EBioMedicine, team found that sputum testing detected the RNA of the virus that causes COVID-19 at significantly higher rates while oropharyngeal swab testing had lower rates.

Regardless of the collection method, the earlier samples were collected after symptoms began, the higher the detection rate.

These studies included results from a total of 3,442 respiratory tract specimens.

The team examined how often each collection method produced a positive result. For NP swabs, the rate was 54 percent; for oropharyngeal swabs, 43 percent; for sputum, 71 percent.

The rate of viral detection was significantly higher in sputum than either oropharyngeal swabs or NP swabs. Detection rates were highest within one week of symptom onset for all three tests.

Nasopharyngeal swabs are collected through the nasal cavity; oropharyngeal swabs are collected by inserting a shaft through the mouth; and sputum samples are generally collected by having a patient cough deeply to produce and expel phlegm.

Not all patients are able to produce a sputum sample; for such patients, a nasopharyngeal swab may be the best collection method.

Source: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200724/Sputum-testing-detects-COVID-19-virus-at-higher-rates-than-other-methods.aspx
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