Comparison of Copan ESwab and FLOQSwab for COVID-19 Diagnosis: Working around a Supply Shortage

On 16 March 2020, the WHO Director-General stated, “You cannot fight a fire blindfolded. And we cannot stop this [COVID-19] pandemic if we don’t know who is infected. We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test. Test every suspected case” (https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—16-march-2020). This strategy hinges on the availability of appropriate, validated collection and transport systems to ensure preservation of nucleic acids and compatibility with downstream molecular testing—an acute challenge in the current pandemic. We present direct comparison of COVID-19 specimens collected with FLOQSwab nasopharyngeal swab preserved in universal transport medium (Copan UTM system; Copan, Italy; catalog no. 305C), optimized for viral specimens, and flocked regular nylon tip swab preserved in liquid Amies (ESwab collection system; Copan, Italy; catalog no. 480C), optimized for bacterial specimens.

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