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This Is How Deep Into Your Nose COVID-19 Tests Go

Now that a huge portion of our waking lives is dedicated to digesting COVID-19 information—and if yours somehow isn’t, congratulations on that feat—it’s easy to get lost in all of the statistics and drone footage and hot takes by talk show hosts. But some news items still stick out as especially visceral. Like the squirm-inducing test illustrated in the tweet below, which medical professionals perform to see if you have COVID-19, or any other type of viral respiratory pathogen.

Pediatric nurse practitioner and nurse educator, Jessica Peck, posted the particularly insightful illustration of the COVID-19 nasal swab tests to Twitter recently, and it has to be seen to be felt. Also, it can’t be unseen, so this apology for what you’re probably feeling deep inside of your nose right now comes too late. Although we can tell you to avoid the video below of the test being performed IRL if you’re especially squeamish. 

A video from Michael Teixido MD demonstrating the COVID-19 swab test. 

In a made by ChristianaCare, a not-for-profit teaching health system based in Wilmington, Delaware, Dr. Marci Drees, a Chief Infection Prevention Officer for the organization, describes the test in detail. Drees notes that the test for COVID-19 itself is known as an RT-PCR test, which is a molecular test that identifies the presence of certain RNA molecules in the nose or in one’s secretions. Recall that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is an RNA virus. 

Drees notes in the ChristianaCare video that another type of test, which isn’t widely available now, but hopefully will be in the near future, will test to see if people have developed the antibodies that combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Whenever that test is developed, it will become far more apparent just how many people have COVID-19, and may even lead to the ability to hand-select people who have immunity to the disease to safely work the front lines of this pandemic.

Dr. Marci Drees discussing the RT-PCR test that can identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

What do you think about this COVID-19 nasal swab test? Have you ever been subjected to one of these tests before? If so, how did it feel? Plunge deep into your thoughts and personal experiences in the comments! 

Feature image: Michael Teixido MD