Nova Scotia health officials recommend throat swab as part of rapid COVID-19 testing
Free COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits are ready for distribution at a pop-up site in Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Mall on Thursday, December 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, January 21, 2022 12:23PM EST
HALIFAX -- Health officials in Nova Scotia are recommending people swab both their nose and throat for rapid COVID-19 testing.
New research from Nova Scotia Health's microbiology team indicates that a combination of a nose and throat swab provides more accurate results compared with a nose swab alone.
Health Department officials said today in a news release their investigation compared results from rapid tests and from the more accurate polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, taken from the same people.
Researchers say samples from nasal or throat swabs detected 64.5 per cent of cases that were detected from PCR tests, while a combination of nose and throat swabs increased accuracy to 88.7 per cent.
Public Health says it is working to update testing instructions people receive when they pick up a rapid test.
Officials advise that if only one location sample is used in rapid testing it should be the nose, because the throat swab alone is not as effective.
"These types of (research) projects are instrumental in testing anecdotal reports of new collection methods that are different from the manufacturers' approved collection recommendations," said Dr. Todd Hatchette, chief of Nova Scotia Health's microbiology division. "This data now supports the option of using a combined throat and nasal swab to enhance detection of Omicron."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021.