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Information for Health Care Providers
Swabs and Transport Media
Upper respiratory specimen samples via nasal mid-turbinate (NMT) placed in 2 mL of transport media.
Alternatively, collect 0.5-1 mL of saliva in a sterile, leak-proof screw cap container.
As of October 25, 2021, the FDA and CDC recommends collecting and testing an upper respiratory specimen which includes nasopharyngeal collection (NP), nasal mid-turbinate (NMT), and saliva.
We offer NMT and saliva kits for most of our clients, although NP specimens are also available and will be accepted.
We work with ambient conditions for same or next day analysis, so refrigeration is not necessary. If transit will be delayed, refrigerate or freeze to maintain stability.
Label the sample and included card with patient name, date of birth, and collection date. Place both the card and sample in the specimen bag and return to the lab.
Swabs and Transport Media
Flocked plastic NP swabs in universal or viral transport media (UTM/VTM) at 2 mL volume are preferred.
The FDA has made alternative recommendations in the context of limited quantities of testing supplies during this public health crisis, based on the best available evidence and in consultation with outside experts.
When considering alternate swab types, use only synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts, and transport in 2 mL of media. Do not use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts, as they may contain substances that inactivate some viruses and inhibit PCR testing.
Please refer to the most current CDC guidelines for further information on collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens.
Nasal swab samples in Viral Transport Media (VTM) will be stable at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 14 days and stable up to 30 days if frozen.
Saliva samples will be stable at room temperature or refrigerated for 4 days and stable up to 30 days if frozen.
Positive (Detected) – indicates that SARS-CoV-2 RNA is present and suggests the diagnosis of COVID-19
Inconclusive – indicates that SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the specimen could not be determined with certainty after repeat testing. Submission of a new sample is strongly recommended within 48 hours.
Not Detected (Negative) – indicated that SARS-CoV-2 RNA is not present in the patient’s specimen.
A positive result implies the detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids, however the nucleic acids may persist after the virus is not viable.
A negative result does not preclude an infection with SARS-CoV-2 and should not be the sole basis of patient management decisions.
Results should be interpreted in the context of the clinical presentation.