Proper technique for obtaining a nasopharyngeal aspiration specimen is of utmost importance. The tests for viral pathogens is only as good as the specimen collected. It is well studied and demonstrated that a nasopharyngeal aspirate results in better sensitivities over NP swab. With the onset of Covid-19, maximizing sensitivities and minimizing the false negative results is imperative. It is unfortunate that most caregivers performing a NP swab have been given improper or incorrect training on the anatomy and collection method. This results in a nasal specimen rather than and a nasopharyngeal specimen decreasing the sensitivities.
Patients undergoing drive thru testing in their car with a swab are likely having reduced sensitivities. Patients are in a poor position more likely resulting in a poor sample with a greater chance of a false negative outcome. If false negative results are conveyed, then patients are then told they do not have COVID-19 when they actually do!
Outdoor testing centers that place a patient in a supine position and having a NP aspirate is ideal. This training video points out the necessary anatomy and technique for performing a nasopharyngeal aspiration.
Patients should receive proper technique if going through this viral testing process and should demand a properly performed test that reduces false negative results. In conclusion, nasopharyngeal aspirate for COVID-19 diagnosis is the ideal specimen for accurate diagnosis.