Public health interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic rely on quickly and accurately identifying individuals who have contracted the virus. There are two main swabbing methods that are used to collect specimens for testing: oropharyngeal (OP) and nasopharyngeal (NP). Because the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended NP swabs since March, NP swabs are used most frequently. However, they require extra training for healthcare staff and are uncomfortable for patients, leading to risks of poor sample collection and lower patient compliance. On the other hand, OP swabs are easier to collect and are less painful for patients. Furthermore, OP swabs are utilized for sample collection of other diseases, such as gonorrhea and strep throat testing. Nevertheless, for a proper OP sample, the healthcare provider should hold a swab, tongue depressor, and light; but it is sometimes difficult to hold all three in just two hands, while maintaining visualization of the peritonsillar site for swabbing. Thus, there is an opportunity to create a device that allows healthcare providers to more easily visualize the swab site and therefore obtain an adequate sample of the virus.
Jill Holdsworth, MS, CIC, FAPIC, NREMT, CRCST
Infection Prevention Department
Emory University Hospital Midtown
Dr. Zachary Bercu, M.D., R.P.V.I.
Assistant Division Director, Innovation and Strategy,Emory Interventional Radiology
Assistant Professor, Division of Interventional Radiology and Image-Guided Medicine
Emory School of Medicine