Best Practices for Sample Collection of Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Best Practices for Sample Collection of Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) | Medical Supply Company

With the current spread of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) laboratories and healthcare providers can expect a busy season ahead.

Accurate detection is dependent on the quality of the sampling method, storage, and transportation to the testing site. A successful diagnostic test begins at sample collection because improper sampling can result in an inadequate specimen, rendering a diagnostic test inconclusive or incorrect. There are several upper respiratory tract sampling methods currently being utilised prior to testing, including nasopharyngeal aspirates/washes, nasal washes, and a combination of synthetic swabs.

The article on “Current Best Practices for Respiratory Virus Testing” published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, by Christine Ginocchio and Alexander MacAdam, considers issues in diagnostic testing for respiratory viruses, including best methods for detection, sample handling and testing for antiviral resistance. It is as relevant today as it was in 2011 when it was first published. One of the methods tested was COPAN’s FLOQSwabs®  flocked swabs combined with COPAN’s  UTM®: Universal Transport Medium  (UTM®) as a solution for a superior collection of upper respiratory specimens. 

A FLOQSwab® is a flocked swab that consists of a moulded plastic applicator stick with a variable size and shape tip. The tip of the applicator is coated with short Nylon® fibres that are arranged in a perpendicular fashion. FLOQSwabs® have no internal core to trap the specimen.

Innovative FLOQSwabs® improve specimen collection and testing capabilities resulting in better clinical care.
Why are flocked swabs better than traditional fiber swabs?

Clinicians report better patient comfort due to ergonomic, anatomic swab design and softer texture.
Studies show that samples collected using FLOQSwabs® improve test sensitivity because they elute more than 90% of the specimen.
Strong capillary hydraulics between the strands of Nylon® expedites maximum liquid sample uptake and release.
Soft brush-like texture of the swabs facilitates efficient dislodging of the target cells.
Compatible with multiple applications and platforms including bacteriology and virology culture, rapid antigen testing, molecular-based assays, direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) tests, enzyme immune assay testing (EIA) and cytology testing.



The performance of a diagnostic test starts with sound sampling techniques and the quality of the specimen collection and transport device. Having an appropriate and less invasive collection and transport devices like UTM®, enables healthcare professionals to better care for sick patients while ensuring the integrity of the sample provided to the laboratory. As we continue through our current influenza season, COPAN’s UTM®/ FLOQSwabs® will provide for specimen collections with high sensitivity in diagnostic testing for influenza and other respiratory infections, whether using culture, antigen, or molecular assays.

Click here for an in-depth look at nasopharyngeal synthetic flocked swab sample collection practice.

Please contact MSC for more information on COPAN’s FLOQSwabs® or UTM® products.

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