Due to the recent 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we have been getting many inquiries about what type of swabs, media, and kits should be used for COVID-19 sample collection prior to testing. Below we have a short guide on which COPAN products meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens for Coronavirus investigations.

Which Type of Swab Should be Used to Collect Samples to Test for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

As outlined in the CDC guidelines for the collection and handling of clinical specimens suspected of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), for upper respiratory tract samples, health workers should only use synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts, like COPAN FLOQSwabs®. It is important not to use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts when testing for COVID-19. These swabs can contain substances that inactivate some viruses and can inhibit PCR testing [1].

How Should Collection Kits be Used for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing?

In the CDC Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the CDC recommends taking a nasopharyngeal AND oropharyngeal swab (NP/OP swab) from PUI for COVID-19 for upper respiratory tract samples. The CDC guidelines also direct healthcare workers to place swabs immediately into sterile tubes containing 2-3 ml of viral transport media, like COPAN UTM® Universal Transport Medium [1].

COVID-19 Sample Collection Kits and Components that Meet the CDC’s Guidelines

COPAN makes COVID-19 collection and transport kits that are compatible with the CDC-recommended configuration that pairs 3mL of UTM® universal viral transport medium and a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal flocked swab.


Also, Healthcare Providers can quickly assemble in-house sample collection kits and place the items in a Ziploc/Minigrip bag for distribution using the following COPAN item numbers:

UTM® 330C – 3 mL UTM® Medium in 16x100mm Tube

FLOQSwabs® 503CS01 – Flexible Minitip (Nasopharyngeal) Flocked Swab with 100mm Breakpoint

FLOQSwabs® 519CS01** – Regular Flocked (Oropharyngeal) Swab with 100mm Breakpoint