Recent Multicenter JCM Publication Shows ESwab’s Versatility and Effectiveness in Detecting MRSA from Nasal Swabs on Cepheid’s Xpert MRSA Next Generation Assay

- ESwab®

December 5, 2017



Recent multicenter study by Dr. Carey-Ann D. Burnham et al adds another application to the growing number of uses and endorsements for COPAN’s widely popular ESwab™. ESwab™ comprises of 1ml of liquid Amies and a flocked swab that completely elutes the sample into the preservation medium. Its versatility and universal appeal simplifies sample collection by minimizing the plethora of specimen collection swabs that need to be stocked by medical centers and clinics in favor of a single multipurpose bacteriology swab.

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most commonly identified antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Approximately 80,000 severe MRSA infections occur annually in the US and result in more than 11,000 attributable deaths. MRSA surgical site and central line-associated bloodstream infections are estimated to cost $42,300 and $58,600 respectively and are associated with 23 and 15 days of inpatient hospitalization.

Active surveillance reduces rates of MRSA infections and labs around the world are increasingly moving from culture methods to molecular methods.  Molecular testing provides faster and more accurate results for detection and infection prevention. The FDA recently cleared Cepheid’s next generation Xpert MRSA assay for the direct detection of MRSA from nasal swabs using both ESwab and traditional rayon swabs. In the study, Burnham et al conclude that “[t]he sensitivity and specificity of the combined flocked and rayon swab data were 91.8% (95% CI: 87.4-94.8%) and 97.2% (95% CI: 96.3-97.9%), respectively. The positive predictive value (PPV) of rayon swabs was 78.7% versus 83.5% for ESwabs. The negative predictive value (NPV) of rayon swabs and ESwab specimens was 98.9% and 99.1%, respectively.”

The study is added proof to the mounting evidence that ESwab™ is a truly multipurpose and open platform swab sample collection system that once adopted by the laboratory, it makes it easier to implement the latest technology and tests. By an institutional widespread standardization on ESwab™, the laboratory can avoid cumbersome change management needed to implement new and innovative diagnostic tests. The impressive multicenter collaboration included a large sample size of almost 2,000 patients in US and non-US laboratories: Washington University School of Medicine, Tampa General Hospital, TheraFirst, George Washington University Medical Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland DVA Medical Center, University of California Davis, Geisinger Health, Changi General Hospital, the Universitätsklinikum Münster, ProMedica Laboratories, the University of Chicago, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Norman Sharples, COPAN Diagnostics’ CEO, enthusiastically stated that “once medical centers move to ESwab™, microbiology labs can easily adopt the latest technology in diagnostics, such as the next generation Xpert MRSA assay, because laboratories enjoy the benefits of a multipurpose collection and transport system.” ESwab simplifies sample collection and prevents errors of collecting samples using the wrong swab. “This study is very exciting for COPAN as it further supports the multipurpose use and versatility of ESwab™ as proven by the different prestigious participating institutions,” concluded Sharples. As ESwab™ provides the testing lab with multiple aliquots of the same original sample, it facilitates easy side-by-side validations of new assay technologies and therefore helps to drive improved patient diagnostics. For a copy of the study, visit


With a reputation for innovation, COPAN is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing of collection and transport systems. Copan’s collaborative approach to preanalytics has resulted in Flocked Swabs, ESwab, Universal Transport Medium and laboratory automation, WASP® and WASPLab™. COPAN’s collection and systems have been proven to advance the quality of traditional and contemporary microbiology assays. COPAN’s automation includes specimen processing, smart incubation, digital imaging, and strong algorithms for automatic segregation of bacterial cultures, followed by automated colony picking. COPAN carries a wide range of environmental sampling products for the food, beverage, hospital and pharmaceutical industries. For more information, visit