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Do PCR swabs contain magnetic elements?

This article was published on
June 25, 2021

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Millions of PCR tests have been conducted all over the world to diagnose COVID-19 and they have been deemed safe for use. The PCR test is the most accurate and reliable way to find out if someone is infected with coronavirus disease. The swabs are sterilized, and the tips on which the mucous sample is collected are made of synthetic materials like nylon, rayon, foam, or polyester. No magnetic substances are used in the swab tips or swabs.

Millions of PCR tests have been conducted all over the world to diagnose COVID-19 and they have been deemed safe for use. The PCR test is the most accurate and reliable way to find out if someone is infected with coronavirus disease. The swabs are sterilized, and the tips on which the mucous sample is collected are made of synthetic materials like nylon, rayon, foam, or polyester. No magnetic substances are used in the swab tips or swabs.

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What our experts say

PCR tests involve collecting mucus from nostrils using a nasal swab (shorter swabs), or from the nasal cavity using a nasopharungeal swab (longer and thinner swabs that can go deeper).

The sample gets sealed in a test tube and then sent to a lab, where scientists determine the presence or absence of SAR-CoV-2’s genetic material, determining whether the test is positive or negative.

The most commonly used nasal swab is a called a flocked swab. It has tufts of polyester material attached to a plastic shaft. Other authorized materials for the swab tip include synthetic materials like nylon, spun fiber (polyester or rayon), and foam. These are medical-grade swabs that are required to meet CDC guidelines and FDA standards of manufacturing and sterilization. In the United States swabs are considered Class I medical devices and are regulated to ensure consistency and safety. No known magnetic substance is used in the swabs. They are considered safe and have been used by millions of people. Furthermore, the use of swabs for PCR testing is not new to COVID-19, and has been utilized for decades to detect viruses and bacteria.

Context and background

The COVID-19 nasal and throat swab, an RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction) test, is a type of test widely used to diagnose COVID-19. It is considered the most accurate and reliable of all COVID-19 tests. It can even detect the presence of the virus before any symptoms show up.

Resources

  1. COVID-19 and PCR Testing (Cleveland Clinic)
  2. COVID-19 diagnostic testing (Mayo Clinic)
  3. Which specimen types and swab types are used for COVID-19 diagnostic testing? (FDA)
  4. SPECIMEN COLLECTION GUIDELINES (CDC)
  5. FAQs on Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (FDA)
  6. Comparison of three nasopharyngeal swab types and the impact of physiochemical properties for optimal SARS-CoV-2 detection (medRxiv)
  7. Impact of Nasopharyngeal Swab Types on Detection of Bordetella pertussis by PCR and Culture (Journal of Clinical Microbiology)
  8. Nasal Swab (MedlinePlus - NIH)
  9. Manufacturing and Sterilization for COVID-19 - Diagnostic Swabs (PennState)

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