Oropharyngeal secretions may help reduce false negative COVID-19 test results

July 02, 2020

Alexandria, Va., USA -- As the global battle to understand and eliminate the coronavirus continues, a new study published in the Journal of Dental Research demonstrates that testing of oropharyngeal secretions (OS) may reduce the number of false negative results from nasal swab testing of patients who have seemingly recovered from the disease.

In the study, led by Jingzhi Ma, Tongji Hospital of Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Department of Stomatology, Wuhan, China, a small number of patients that had tested negative through nasopharyngeal swabs were found to be positive through the testing of oropharyngeal secretions.

The first prospective study of its kind included 75 ready-for-discharge COVID-19 patients who tested negative using two consecutive nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) of viral samples retrieved with nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS).

Because of detection of potential false-negatives in that cohort, NAAT results of paired OS and NPS samples collected from 50 additional COVID-19 recruits during their recovery stage were used in a second prospective study to compare the diagnostic values of the two viral RNA sampling methods.

Oropharyngeal secretions obtained from 2 of the 75 subjects in the first study yielded positive results for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid. In the second study, OS samples were significantly more sensitive for detection of the virus that NPS samples and missed only 14% of positive cases compared with 59% for the NPS samples.

Sampling of OS is a simple procedure that can be performed in any quarantine setting and minimizes contact between healthcare workers and patients, thereby reducing the risk of virus transmission.

"The NPS test has a risk of sending home more patients who still have the infection while the OS test will make such errors in fewer patients. Although OS sampling improves the accuracy of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid testing, it must be emphasized that this conclusion is based on a very small sample size," stated Ma.
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This paper is Open Access, view the complete paper here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0022034520940292.

About the Journal of Dental Research

The IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research (JDR) is a multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the dissemination of new knowledge in all sciences relevant to dentistry and the oral cavity and associated structures in health and disease. The JDR continues to rank #3 in Impact Factor of 91 journals, #2 without self-citations, as well as #2 of 91 in Article Influence with a score of 1.627. The JDR's 5-year Impact Factor remained above 5 for the fifth year at 5.844 -- ranking #2 of 91 journals. With over 20,000 citations, the JDR also boasts the most citations in the "Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine" category, over 3,500 citations above the 2nd ranked journal in the field.

International Association for Dental Research

The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) is a nonprofit organization with over 10,000 individual members worldwide, with a Mission to drive dental, oral and craniofacial research to advance health and well-being worldwide. To learn more, visit http://www.iadr.org. The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) is the largest Division of IADR with 3,100 members in the United States. To learn more, visit http://www.iadr.org/aadr.

International & American Associations for Dental Research

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