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COVID-19 Nasal Swab Test Does Not Cause Risk of Infection


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To help control the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended getting a COVID-19 test for people who show symptoms of the disease, have come into contact with someone known to have the disease, or are in vulnerable groups. 

The most common form of testing for the novel coronavirus involves the use of a nasopharyngeal, or nasal, swab. The swab reaches deep into the back of a person’s nose and mouth to collect cells and fluids from the upper respiratory system, which can then be checked with diagnostic tests for the presence of the novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.

The testing procedure involves inserting a 6-inch-long swab into the cavity between the nose and mouth for 15 seconds and rotating it several times. The swabbing is repeated on the other side. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.

Dr. Shawn Nasseri, an ear, nose and throat surgeon based in Beverly Hills who has conducted many COVID-19 swab tests, told us in an email that the nasal swab “follows the floor of the nose and goes to where the nose meets the throat, or naso-pharynx.”

Asked if the swab test is safe, Nasseri said, “Absolutely. The biggest risk is discomfort. The rare person — 1 in thousands — passes out from being super sensitive or gets a mild nosebleed. It’s estimated that close to 40 million or more swabs have been performed safely in the U.S. alone.”

But in recent weeks, viral posts on Facebook falsely claim that the nasal swab test can cause serious health issues. One post says, “The stick deep into the nose causes damage to the hamato-encephalic barrier and damages endocrine glands. This test creates an entrance to the brain for every infection.”

The hamato-encephalic barrier, also known as the “blood-brain barrier,” protects the brain from toxins that could be present in the blood.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of epidemiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, told us in an email that the Facebook claim “is not true.”

“Even though there is significant awareness [of the role of Fed policy], market dynamics can become unstable or unfavourable relatively easily,” he says. “Then you get into a self-reinforcing cycle of selling pressure.”
周三,北京市发改委主任卢彦在新闻发布会上说:“我们将会在通州开展297个项目,例如建设地铁线和高速路及改善生态环境。”

Nasseri said that “it is incredibly implausible, if not impossible, to cross the skull base and blood-brain barrier with a swab unless someone uses a rigid metal instrument and is pointing the metal object 90 degrees in the wrong direction.”

Dr. Morgan Katz, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University, told the Associated Press that the Facebook posts misunderstand what’s happening when the swab test is performed.

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在定制课程排行榜上,排在第二名瑞士洛桑国际管理发展学院之后的是杜克企业教育学院(Duke Corporate Education)。这是这所美国学校连续第3年位列第三。该校在2014年连续第12年占据定制课程排行榜榜首位置,创下纪录。

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 中共中央政治局:落实好一城一策、因城施策、城市政府主体责任的长效调控机制 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

Brueck, Hilary and Samantha Lee. “最佳歌曲: Business Insider. 15 Apr 2020. 

Dr. Shawn Nasseri.  Ear, nose and throat surgeon. Email exchange with FactCheck.org. 3 Aug 2020.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado. Professor of epidemiology, Stanford University School of Medicine. Email exchange with FactCheck.org. 3 Aug 2020.

Fauzia, Miriam. “But closing the deal on RCEP less than a year after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the TPP would be a big win for Beijing. USA Today. 9 July 2020.

Marty, Francisco M., et al. 海南健康旅居地产成2016北京春季房展最大亮点 New England Journal of Medicine. 28 May 2020.

Swenson, Ali. At the same ceremony in New York, Dominic Barton, McKinsey’s global managing director, awarded the Bracken Bower Prize for young business writers to Christopher Clearfield and András Tilcsik. Their proposed book would look at how businesses can manage the risk of catastrophic failure. The 15,000 prize goes to the best proposal for a business book about the challenges and opportunities presented by growth by authors under 35. Associated Press. 7 Jul 2020.

UCDavis Health. 定制+模块化 破解家居产品“撞脸”尴尬 Accessed 3 Aug 2020.

University of Queensland, Australia. 南京人才安居房已筹建24万平方米 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. “The Blood-Brain Barrier.” Accessed Aug. 4, 2020.