Study Suggests COPAN FecalSwab® Tests Well for Use with the bioMérieux BioFire FilmArray® Gastrointestinal (GI) Panel

- FecalSwab®

January 27, 2017

Since its introduction into the Liquid Based Microbiology (LBM) line, FecalSwab® has been used with various assays. Recently, a study was performed out of Botswana, which tested FecalSwab with bioMérieux’s BioFire FilmArray® Gastrointestinal (GI) Panel.

Due to the high mortality rate for young children in developing countries, gastroenteritis is a serious concern. Typically, diagnosis requires diagnostic testing which requests a bulk stool sample. The BioFire FilmArray® GI Panel was invented to allow rapid testing for pathogens that are linked to gastroenteritis or infectious diarrhea. It is able to detect multiple pathogens including bacteria, parasites and viruses. Not only is it accurate, but the FilmArray GI Panel is able to determine results within a little over an hour!

This rapid test is crucial for a quick diagnosis in outpatient situations or areas where resources are limited. This is where FecalSwab can help! Bulk stool samples are often difficult to obtain quickly from infants, toddlers and children. FecalSwab can be used as a rectal swab, which is a faster method of collection, than the alternative. With this in mind, the study sought to compare the use of FecalSwab to that of traditional bulk sample in conjunction with the FilmArray GI Panel. The FilmArray GI Panel is FDA-cleared and validated for use with stool collected in Cary Blair transport media; use with rectal swabs is not FDA-cleared (i.e. off-label) and has not been validated.

The Results Are In
Children between the ages of 2 months and five years that had been hospitalized with ‘non-bloody diarrheal’ illness were selected for the study. A bulk sample and a rectal (FecalSwab) sample were taken from each patient and placed into 2mL of Cary Blair medium. Next, each sample was tested on the FilmArray GI Panel according to the instructions. From about 30 patients (60 samples), 153 pathogens were detected; 78 from FecalSwab and 75 from the bulk stool! The FecalSwab tested equivalent to bulk stool in detecting parasites, performed better for bacteria and was similar in performance for virus.

Pathogen Type


Bulk Stool













A Little’s Enough
The study helps illustrate how only a small amount of sample is necessary for testing. The max fill line indicated on FecalSwab ensures that the proper amount is collected to produce accurate results. Using FecalSwab as the preferred collection system opens more doors for accessibility in multiple scenarios, where timely and convenient collection are necessary.

COPAN’s FecalSwab is a convenient, compact and easily transportable system for collecting fecal and rectal samples. In addition, it’s optimized for use with automation.
To learn more about FecalSwab, click here.