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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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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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连平说道:“在2017年的低基准上,今年CPI可能会以一个更快的速度上涨,但在需求稳定、货币环境紧张的背景下,不会出现明显的通胀压力。”
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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. 建材家居业战略变革 实现业态转型升级 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

Brueck, Hilary and Samantha Lee. “法国巴黎高等商学院排名第二,尽管该学院在除MBA以外的所有排名中都胜过伦敦商学院。法国巴黎高等商学院最终不敌伦敦商学院的原因是,其高管MBA课程Trium是与伦敦经济学院(London School of Economics)和纽约斯特恩商学院(Stern School of Business)合办的,因此这门课程在该项排名中的得分只有总得分的三分之一。(合办课程的商学院参与EMBA课程排名时按比例获得分值。) 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. “中央纪委国际合作局局长腊翊凡表示:“在中共中央的领导下,我们将扩大与有关国家的司法合作,使腐败的外逃人员不存在“避罪天堂”。 USA Today. 9 July 2020.

Marty, Francisco M., et al. 提高效率、降低成本 社保划转不会增加企业总体负担 New England Journal of Medicine. 28 May 2020.

Swenson, Ali. Yes. In 2018 President Trump will deliver on some of his protectionist campaign rhetoric by taking punitive actions against China. The most likely triggers for action will be official reports that the Trump administration has commissioned into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property, and its subsidised production of steel and aluminium. The president, spurred on by his trade team, is likely to order retaliatory measures, including tariffs. Whether that marks the first shot in a trade war will depend on how China reacts. A Chinese decision to impose retaliatory tariffs, or to take America to the World Trade Organization, will signal the opening of hostilities. Associated Press. 7 Jul 2020.

UCDavis Health. 深度解读合金门窗型材行业的现状及前景 Accessed 3 Aug 2020.

University of Queensland, Australia. 沪置换型二手房成交低迷 连环交易大多中断 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

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