Omicron, self test: with a swab taken from the nose, the response "negative", and from the throat – "positive"

The experts point out that it is very likely that someone will do a nasal test and it will come out negative. And then, having passed a swab from the larynx, he will receive a positive answer. What is the reason for this?

While the Omicron variant is now prevalent around the world, more and more people are worried about whether the disease can be detected by self-testing at home.

For a test for covid (Omicron strain), a swab is taken from the throat with a cotton swab (in other cases, from the nose). Many social media users claimed to have tried this at home and were surprised to see that although the nose test came back negative. And when they tried to self-test by taking a throat swab, they tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Since symptoms appear earlier in people infected with Omicron (rather than other strains), it is likely that the virus is not yet being detected in the nasal mucosa when you first take the test. But in the swab from the throat – it will already be visible, “- wrote on Twitter epidemiologist and testing expert Michael Meena (a former employee of Harvard).

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and senior fellow at the American Federation of Scientists, fully agrees, according to “Omicron is very different from all other covid variants,” he tweeted. “We have to adapt to changing testing strategies.”

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly recommends that you do not deviate from specific instructions included with test kits.

According to, the agency “has raised concerns about the safety of citizens in self-collecting larynx / throat swabs, as the process is more difficult than taking a nasal swab. If done incorrectly, a person can be harmed. “

Other epidemiologists echoed the FDA’s warning, stating that testing guidelines should not be changed until more data were available. “There is a lot of work to be done to move to a new sampling method,” said Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health.

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