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Are Throat Swabs A Better Way To Detect COVID-19?

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - COVID-19 testing always focused on the nose. It's quicker, less uncomfortable and experts thought it collected a good enough sample of the virus. But now some doctors think we might be swabbing the wrong place.

It would look just like a strep test, that long q-tip would first swab the back of your throat. You could either stop there, or also swab your nose. The FDA is against it, but some doctors say it's getting better results.

Just scroll through #sciencetwitter and you'll find the people trying it out. Many people are struggling with sore throats, claiming when they swabbed their noses, they tested negative, but when they swabbed their throats, the results changed.

KDKA's Meghan Schiller talked with infectious disease doctor Amesh Adalja who supports the throat swab.

"If they test negative with the nasal swab and they have sore throat symptoms, it might be worth doing another swab of the back of your throat, either you do it yourself with one of your home kits or have your friend swab the back of your throat because people need to know their status because if it's not COVID, maybe it is strep throat, or something else that needs treatment." said Adalja.

Amidst the debate, the FDA just issued guidance, saying:

"The FDA advises that COVID-19 tests should be used as authorized, including following their instructions or use regarding obtaining the sample for testing. The FDA has noted safety concerns regarding self-collection of throat swabs, as they are more complicated than nasal swabs - and if used incorrectly, can cause harm to the patient."

One mom told KDKA she's struggling to stay on top of all of the new and changing information. She doesn't care how the swab happens, just that she can get a result and return to some sense of normalcy. She says she hopes the fighting over test kits in the pharmacy aisles and 3 hours waits at MedExpress will soon be a thing of the past.

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