HOUSTON — Why are some experts saying you should ignore the instructions on at-home COVID testing kits?
You may have seen the advice on social media. Instead of just swabbing your nose for an at-home test you should also swab your throat. And it is not just self-described experts making the claim, according to the Washington post some prominent epidemiologists are advocating for the change.
This comes as the FDA admits the rapid at-home tests may not do as well picking up the omicron variant especially in the early days of an infection.
So why the throat? Initial research is showing that omicron does better in the upper respiratory system which includes your throat. It seems to not replicate as well in the lungs at least compared to previous variants like delta.
Some countries have endorsed the dual testing approach. Both Canada and the United Kingdom have authorized testing options that take samples from the nose and throat.
While there are anecdotal reports on social media of people testing positive on throat swabs but negative on nasal swabs, the FDA says it is still a bad idea.
In a statement to the Washington Post, the administration said the tests should be used as directed, warning there were safety concerns. It said if done incorrectly patients could harm themselves. Of course, when it comes to testing, the gold standard remains the PCR test.