Jan. 11, 2022 -- Many Americans are familiar with the rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 that involve swabbing the nose. But some new evidence suggests a saliva sample could boost the tests’ accuracy.
Experts agree on one thing: If you're going to test both the nose and throat, swab the throat first.
In terms of an official stance, the FDA says to follow the test instructions. In other words, stick to the nose for now.
"We don't have enough data suggesting throat swabs are an accurate or appropriate method for at-home tests," the agency wrote Jan. 7 on Twitter.
One leading infectious disease doctor might disagree.
Robert Wachter, MD, shared a story on Twitter about how his symptomatic son tested negative at first using a rapid nasal swab test. After a search for more tests, sampling both his throat and nose yielded a positive result.
"I’ve been tweeting about Covid for nearly 2 years. But this week it became personal when my 28-year-old younger son got it. With his permission, I’ll describe his experience & how I approached his situation, given the realities of life and the rapidly changing evidence," he tweeted on Jan. 8.
Wachter is chair of internal medicine at the University of California San Francisco and a contributor to Medscape Medical News, WebMD’s sister site for medical professionals.
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