CDC develops new nasal swab to test for coronavirus and flu

Coronavirus & Flu Hospitalization Rate

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Receiving a coronavirus and flu test may soon be a one-stop-shop.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed and approved a swab that will test for influenza A, influenza B, and the coronavirus all at the same time.

The question now is supply, and whether or not testing sites will be able to use on a large scale.

Dr. William Epperson, Tidelands Health director of primary care, says when they usually test for influenza, they swab the nose to get the sample to determine if it’s ‘A’ or ‘B.’

Epperson notes it’s uncomfortable and a bother to do the swab again for a COVID-19, so the CDC came up with the multiplex test to have one sample for everything.

It’s going to be a challenge to find out how to use it, Epperson added, because it needs to be distributed throughout the country. He added planning to go from the global process to distributing to communities to be used takes some time.

But Epperson is looking forward to it making the whole process more efficient for both the distributor and the people taking the tests.

“We are swabbing people in the nose for the rapid corona test, and then if that comes up negative, we are having to swab again to do the flu test and it takes 15 minutes or more to do each of the tests. And when we are talking about having the manage numerous patients, that is extremely inconvenient and a waste of time," said Epperson.

Epperson says the test was approved for emergency use in July.

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