FLOQSwabs™ by Copan Conclusively Yield Better Accuracy and Detection of S. aureus than Traditional Fiber Swabs

- FLOQSwabs®

November 16, 2010

A recent study conducted at University Hospital of Saint- Etienne in France unambiguously concluded that in comparison to traditional rayon fiber swabs, the use of FLOQSwabs™ by Copan leads to more accurate results in the rapid screening for S. aureus nasal carriage.

Previous culture-based studies on S. aureus nasal carriage have demonstrated little difference in swab performance most likely attributable to an artificial boost in yield from overnight pre-enrichment procedures. However, the new study from Saint-Etienne, France using direct culture, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology (1) unambiguously reports that COPAN FLOQSwabs™ resulted in higher detection rates and quantitative greater yield of S.aurerus in comparison with traditional rayon swabs. Furthermore, the article states that more accurate detection of S. aureus by direct culture using FLOQSwabs™ can avoid the delay in reporting, allowing decontamination treatment to begin sooner to prevent S. aureus infection. This becomes critical just before a surgical procedure or upon arrival of a patient in an intensive care unit.

In the Saint-Etienne study, the pre-enrichment step was omitted. Instead, nasal swabs were plated directly onto CHROMagar™. The results indicated that in addition to yielding a larger amount of bacteria, mean loads 3.41 x 106 CFU/ml with FLOQSwabs™ versus 4.53 x 105 CFU/ml with rayon swabs, FLOQSwabs™ demonstrated a better sensitivity of detection of S. aureus carriage (97.1% vs. 74.3%), and resulted in an overall improvement in detection of S. aureus nasal carriers particularly in the case of low bacterial loads. This can be attributed to the unique design of Copan’s FLOQSwabs™, which have no inside core to trap specimen, allowing the instant and spontaneous release of the sample onto culture plates or into solution.

FLOQSwabs™ by COPAN have demonstrated improvement in the uptake and release of epithelial cells and viruses (2, 4), to release more microorganisms in vitro (5), and to enhance the molecular detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (3). Similarly, Van Horn et al. have demonstrated that FLOQSwabs™ placed in Amies liquid medium yielded greater organism release (5).

The Saint-Etienne study is the latest study to form part of a growing body of evidence that concludes that FLOQSwabs™ absorb and release more clinical sample; and thus more of the target analyte than traditional swabs, which improves the diagnosis of infectious disease. These characteristics have beneficial implications for any direct testing systems that do not have an amplification step, such as rapid antigen testing, culture or Gram staining.

Abstracts and scientific studies, including the studies referenced here, are available at Copan Diagnostics’ website ( Additionally, users can find a wealth of information, including studies which show that FLOQSwabs™ significantly increase the quantity of sample collected and released into various culture and assay systems improving the quality of diagnostics. COPAN holds patents for FLOQSwabs™ in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. FLOQSwabs™ have a patent-pending in the United States.


    1. P. Verhoeven, F. Grattard, A. Carricajo, B. Pozzetto, and P. Berthelot. 2010. Better Detection of Staphylococcus aureus Nasal Carriage by Use of Nylon Flocked Swabs J. Clin Microbiol. 48:4242–4244.
    2. Abu-Diab, A., M. Azzeh, R. Ghneim, M. Zoughbi, S. Turkuman, N. Rishmawi, A. E. Issa, I.Siriani, R. Dauodi, R. Kattan, and M. Y. Hindiyeh. 2008. Comparison between pernasal flocked swabs and nasopharyngeal aspirates for detection of common respiratory
    3. Chernesky, M., S. Castriciano, D. Jang, and M. Smieja. 2006. Use of flocked swabs and a universal transport medium to enhance molecular detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseriagonorrhoeae. J. Clin. Microbiol. 44: 1084–1086.
    4.  Daley, P., S. Castriciano, M. Chernesky, and M. Smieja. 2006. Comparison of flocked and rayon swabs for collection of respiratory epithelial cells from uninfected volunteers and symptomatic patients. J. Clin. Microbiol. 44:2265–2267.
    5.  Van Horn, K. G., C. D. Audette, K. A. Tucker, and D. Sebeck. 2008. Comparison of 3 swab transport systems for direct release and recovery of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. Diagn. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. 62:471–473.

About Copan

With a reputation for innovation in preanalytics, Copan is the leading manufacturer of collection and transport systems in the world. Copan offers a complete range of microbial sampling products used for traditional culture analysis and molecular diagnostic assays. For more information, visit