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


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Rankings for Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain fell dramatically because of the impact of the eurozone crisis, while Egypt, Myanmar and Saudi Arabia registered large falls in the wake of recent political and civil turmoil.
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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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China’s reserves have fallen for nine of 11 months this year and stand at $3.43tn, as investors sell renminbi assets to protect themselves against depreciation and the central bank sells dollars from its reserves to curb renminbi weakness. Falling interest rates in China and expectations of an imminent rate rise by the US Federal Reserve have also fuelled outflows. Reserves rebounded mildly in October, suggesting outflows had diminished.
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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. 广州市住建委:今年增加以“租”为主的住房供应 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

Brueck, Hilary and Samantha Lee. “2.人工眼睛 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. “Video editors likely benefited from the same factors that caused the increase in photography jobs. It stands to reason that this kind of work expands alongside the need for increasingly sophisticated and appealing website designs. USA Today. 9 July 2020.

Marty, Francisco M., et al. 政策利好频仍 长租公寓市场活跃 New England Journal of Medicine. 28 May 2020.

Swenson, Ali. 事实上,去往俄罗斯有许多可供选择的廉价航班。其国内的西伯利亚大铁路也使得交通十分便利。 Associated Press. 7 Jul 2020.

UCDavis Health. 地板企业2013年如何前行 认清三大误区很关键 Accessed 3 Aug 2020.

University of Queensland, Australia. “金九银十”显冷清 大品牌业绩好于小品牌 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

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