Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration( FDA) announces that it would be updating its guidance to allow self-swab tests for COVID-1 9, in which a patient obtains a test for their own nose for a health professional to research. On Wednesday, UnitedHealth Group disclosed the results of a peer-reviewed large scale study that provided the science behind the decision to switch to the less-invasive sample collection method.
The self-swab process doesn’t alter where FD-Aapproved testing can happen- this expanded guidance only applies to the method of collecting, intending at-home swab-baed PCR tests that numerous startups had hoped to bring to market are still on hold. But even though parties still have to go to either clinics or drive-through testing places to get a COVID-1 9 exam done, the ability to self-swab offers more comfort, as well as real advantages when it comes to the health and safety of the clinicians and frontline healthcare workers staffing the sites.
This new study shows that not only does iself-swabbing lessen the chance of someone with COVID-1 9 progressing on their infection to a healthcare laborer, it’s also just as effective as exam where clinicians collected the test from much deeper inside a person’s nasal cavity. UnitedHeatlh worked with the Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Quest Diagnostics and the University of Washington to conduct studies and research which covered nearly 500 patients who received experiments at OptumCare diagnostic equipment in the state of Washington.
There are other benefits to the self-swab method as well, including eliminating the need for specifically-trained medical professionals who have to administer the tests at point-of-care. This should help with clearing up backlogs owing to staffing, at least, though supplyings and constrictions due to demand are going to persist as more parties attempt diagnosis.