Why shove a 6-inch long swab up into a person's nose and amplify it 45 times to test for it?

OK, I know and acknowledge that airborne transmission is real. Don’t confuse me with covidiots. But I just don’t get why they shove a 6-inch long swab up into a person’s nose and amplify it 45 times to test for it? If airborne transmission is real, you can just breathe onto the swab and then get the swab tested.

You’re making it hard not to do so.

Do you think we are better off with a test protocol that might work at some phases of infection, or a test protocol that is reliable?

I assume that you are talking about PCR cycles here. This is just the sensitivity of the test. Again, somebody in the most active phase of infection would produce a signal much more quickly than 45 cycles. But we want to pick up cases in all phases of infection, where much less viral RNA may be present.

Think of it as akin to a mold test. If there’s mold growing on a surface, you can either swab it directly, or…take a sample of the air to see if there is mold in the air. The Q-tip swabbing is far more reliable.

Because (I assume) they tried different protocols on a known COVID-19 infected individual and found the most accurate results were obtained using a 6-inch long swab, etc.?

In addition to the correct responses listed here, I should add that shoving a 6 inch swap up a person’s nose (or other orifice) is also fun!

your patients must love you!

They keep coming back to him, so apparently it’s not costing him any customers. :wink:

He has a captive patient group. :grimacing:

That’s your problem.

This doesn’t seem very hard to figure out on one’s own. Assuming one is bothering to try. After all, experts who do know what they’re talking about have decided this is the smart(er) way, so maybe we can follow along at home.

From the moment someone gets a smidgen of virus up their nose the virus begins to multiply and to increase in quantity. Eventually (a couple days later) there will be enough virus there to be able to spew forth and infect others. A couple or few days later the virus will have multiplied and perhaps spread within the host enough to start to cause symptoms.

Probably very late in the process we could have somebody nose-breath on a swab and, after some amplification, detect virus. Or, we could go deeper into the nose and, in effect, get a valid sample earlier in time.

A test that says “Yep, the reason you feel like shit is you have COVID.” is useful. A test that says “Yep, you don’t know it yet and you feel fine right now, but you’re infectious already or are about to be infectious tomorrow.” has a LOT more value for preventing spread rather than responding to spread.

We in the USA largely gave up on prevention back last March. Ever since it’s been harm reduction through treatment rather than harm elimination through spread prevention.

I assumed that your question was asked in good faith, and answered it accordingly. But frankly it was at about the level of questions like “if your mask works, why do I need to wear one”. Which I think you knew - otherwise why the preemptive disclaimer that we shouldn’t confuse you with covidiots? That’s not my problem.

No, that is not the same level as “if your mask works, why do I need to wear one”. Questions have no intellectual levels. You have no authority to establish such levels and make judgements as you did. Even if you do, well, they don’t matter much.

Confusing with covidiots is, yes, your problem, since the question is asked in good faith and you are are suspecting that there was malicious intent behind the question. Try to see it from my perspective. You constantly have to prove that you have a good intention. This is like some sort of harassment. Getting a swab deep into your nose isn’t pleasant experience. Consequently, people will probably question its necessity.

More to the point, I understand that some questions aren’t asked in good faith. Even if a question isn’t asked in good faith, it isn’t a big issue. People would love to read your informative and rational answers. They will actually benefit from it.

Which you do traditionally by culturing on a media until there is enough of the stuff to be visible. Which may require several weeks, and does require a ‘media’ (cell line) that is specific to the virus.

The ‘amplification’ applied to swabs is a fast process that only takes 4~8 hours, and doesn’t require a specific cell line, or some way of purifying and detecting the virus in culture. It’s cheaper, easier, and less error prone.

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Let’s not insult other posters, even back-handedly.

General Questions Moderator

never mind

Some people may well question it, but IMO those are people who don’t think it through. In fact I’d suggest a thoughtful analysis will lead to the exact opposite conclusion.

The medical industry tries very hard to avoid inflicting unnecessary discomfort on their customers. Some discomfort is often necessary, but it’s to be avoided whenever possible. Why? Because it pisses off the customers and makes them less likely to get the treatment, whatever it is. Whether you’re trying to help people or just to sell more treatments, anything unpleasant is bad.

And for sure the public health folks have been in effect pulling their punches on COVID advice all along, making it less effective in the name of making it more palatable to the bulk of the populace who seems to have an unjustified know-nothing uncooperative streak a mile wide.

If they’re doing something mildly unpleasant to folks, its always because there’s not an equally effective less unpleasant choice on offer. Always.

Hazing may well be part of initiation to frats and at boot camp. It’s not part of routine medical practice.

I just recently had both the Antigen (quick) test and the PCR test, and both involved the swabs only going a tiny way into my nostrils, maybe half an inch. I guess they don’t need to jam them halfway into your brain any more.

Same here. I had the antigen test last week, and the PCR test today. For PCR, I was the one who put the swab into my nostrils, only 1 inch deep.

They developed the current protocol after trying various methods on COVID-1 through COVID-18. The COVID-19 procedure one is the best one.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. Slinking away now.