Covid testing: How to properly swab for Omicron as expert warns it’s ‘very different’

Omicron: Dr Tony Hinton says ‘we have to live with it like a flu’

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The warning comes from American public health scientist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding. He said that it is now becoming clear that Omicron is a “different beast” and so the public should be vigilant with their testing. It came after the UK reported 137,583 new COVID cases and 73 coronavirus-related deaths in the latest 24-hour period.

The latest figures mean that more than 1.1 million people had a confirmed positive COVID test result between December 27 and January 2, 2022.

That’s a 43 percent increase compared with the previous seven days.

But Dr Feigl-Ding believes there could be a lot more.

Posting a picture of a positive lateral flow test, he said: [This is] why you should always swab your throat.

“Negative via the nose, positive via the throat.

“Omicron is very different from all other variants.

“We need to adapt to changing testing strategies.”

There are a number of different lateral flows available on the NHS currently, which either require a throat and nose swab, or just a nose swab.

But sharing another photo, Dr Feigl-Ding stated: “The throat swab positive while nasal swab negative testing story is becoming quite common.

“Here is another person with 3 negative nasal tests but got an immediate positive when she switched to a throat swab.”

He explained further: “It’s now becoming pretty clear that #Omicron is a very different beast.

“Saliva samples (hence throat swabs) are much better for detecting Omicron coronavirus. We need clear public health messaging.”

The NHS provides clear instructions on its website on how to complete a lateral flow test.

It says: “Rapid lateral flow tests are for people who do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The tests give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test.

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“If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you’ll need to do a PCR test.”

Taking the swab

  • – Open your mouth wide and rub the swab over your tonsils (or where they would have been). Avoid the end of the swab touching your teeth, tongue and gums.
  • – Using the same swab, wipe the inside your nose as set out in the test kit instructions
  • – Put the end of the swab into the tube so it’s in the liquid
  • – Squeeze the liquid from the tube onto the test strip
  • – Check the waiting time in the instructions that came with your test kit
  • – Wait for the time shown in your test kit instructions
  • – Read your result

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