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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.”

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Another indicator of bitcoin’s momentum is the number of mainstream businesses that accept it. In 2014, Microsoft MSFT -0.84% , PayPal, Dell, and Dish Network DISH 2.24% , among many others, announced they would accept bitcoin as payment for a range of products. Those companies joined companies such as Target (which accepts Gyft, which can be purchased with bitcoin), Overstock.com, and WordPress. Even the publisher of Fortune, Time Inc. TIME -0.40% ,began accepting the cryptocurrency for magazine subscriptions. Yahoo YHOO -1.02% also added bitcoin to its Yahoo Finance tracking site last year, lending the currency additional legitimacy, and Google Finance GOOG -1.30% quickly followed suit. “Adoption of bitcoin is becoming more commonplace, and we feel it is relevant to our industry and to our users,” a Yahoo spokesperson told CoinDesk. Don’t be at all surprised if Yahoo soon goes even bigger on bitcoin—whether by acquiring a bitcoin startup or some other announcement—as part of CEO Marissa Mayer’s ongoing effort to make the stalling search giant more hip.

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.

他称:“有色钻石的市场门槛设置得非常高,因为它们实在太稀有了。”
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Take the intriguing reintroduction of “unfeigned regards” — last big in the 18th century and now found on emails from Indian help centres. But the winning sign-off, at the bottom of a message sent one Friday, was: “weekend well”. I nearly awarded it second prize for the best noun pretending to be a verb, though at the last minute this award was snatched by a consultant overheard saying: “Can we cold towel that?”

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. 发改委酝酿光伏电价系列新政 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

Brueck, Hilary and Samantha Lee. “Transforming and upgrading the real economy through innovation 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. “In 2016, fear and anger became dominant political emotions in the UK and the US — two of the most important, stable and enduring democracies. USA Today. 9 July 2020.

Marty, Francisco M., et al. 木门企业打造品牌是首要 电商是行业未来 New England Journal of Medicine. 28 May 2020.

Swenson, Ali. 最新名单显示香港大学排名第三,澳门大学排名第六。 Associated Press. 7 Jul 2020.

UCDavis Health. 租赁试点方案相继出台 轻租重售在改变 Accessed 3 Aug 2020.

University of Queensland, Australia. 互联网房产中介喊出“零佣金” 房东或顺势涨价 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

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