Trust Index: COVID-19 home testing kit ‘Throat Swabbing’

Does growing social media trend #swabyourthroat produce reliable results?

A hashtag trend on social media has sent our KPRC Trust Index team scrambling to find the truth.

#swabyourthroat is especially popular on TikTok.

Many of the videos appear to encourage or at least show people using the nasal swabs included in the COVID-19 test kits to take samples from the throat instead.

The FDA has taken note of the trend and issued a reminder that in the U.S. home COVID-19 antigen tests are approved only for nasal samples.

January 7, 2020 @US_FDA Tweet (None)

Two local doctors contacted by the KPRC 2 Investigates team echoed the FDA’s sentiment.

“I follow what the FDA recommends in this case, which is not to do it, don’t do it like that. For example, if you had something to drink before, if you have something in your mouth, that may actually give you a false negative,” said Dr. Joseph Varon, Chief of United Memorial Medical Center.

“It is not a good idea to use the test in your throat, especially, if all you have is one test, especially in this shortage,” said Dr. Hana El Sahly, a virology and microbiology professor with Baylor College of Medicine.