On Monday evening, the White House coordinator for coronavirus task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, told reporters that self-swabbing for corona testing would be available for US citizens by this week.
At the news briefing, making the major announcement over self testing, Dr. Birx said that the new ‘self-swab’ technique would make it much easier for people to collect their own samples to test for the coronavirus. She added that it would speed up the virus detection process in a possibly safer manner. The slow tracing process has posed a major challenge in winning this battle against the new virus.
Besides, self-testing takes the burden off public health institutions and officials as they face dearth of both testing kits and manpower to identify and stamp out outbreaks quickly. The collection of samples also puts the medical personal at risk and with shortage of the protective gear to shield the medical staff against the virus, this comes up as a ‘breakthrough’ solution.
Kelly Wroblewski of the Association of Public Health Laboratories told NPR over an email, “They would be nasal swab, which are different than nasopharyngeal swabs,” That would also help “somewhat with the swab shortage.” She added, “It also keeps people at home instead of going out to get a test with mild symptoms and potentially infecting people.”
But she noted that “it doesn’t help and could exacerbate other supply chain issues, if there are many more specimens coming in for testing.”
To conduct the self-swab testing, individuals still need to follow the FDA guidelines i.e. they would have to deposit their samples to the government authorised clinical or drive-through testing sites, and would have to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s screening requirements in order to obtain the test results in the first place.