The influence of a swab type on the results of point-of-care tests

Aleksandra Anna Zasada , Katarzyna Zacharczuk , Katarzyna Woźnica , Małgorzata Główka , Robert Ziółkowski , Elżbieta Malinowska


Most point-of-care tests (POCT) use swabs for sampling and/or for applying a sample on the test. A variety of swabs differing in tip materials is commercially available. Different tip materials have different chemical and physical characteristics which might influence the specimen collection and release. We investigated properties of various types of swabs used in clinical diagnostics with focusing on two kinds of analytes, DNA and proteins, which are most often used targets in POCT. As the model samples we used diphtheria toxoid NIBSC 69/017 for investigating recovery of protein analytes such as antigens and bacterial strains of Escherichia coli ATCC 25922, diphtheria toxin-producing Corynebacterium diphtheriae NCTC 10648, and the clinical isolate nontoxigenic C. diphtheriae 5820/15 for investigating the recovery of nucleic acids. We investigated four types of swabs most commonly used in clinical diagnostics in terms of absorption capacity and efficiency of release of nucleic acids and proteins. Volume uptake was measured in milligrams. For DNA release various washing out buffers were used and the amount of released DNA was measured spectrophotometrically. The amount of protein released from the swabs were examined using the Lowry assay. We observed statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) in the mean weights of absorbed liquid, in the DNA recovery and protein recovery by the four variety of swab examined. However, the efficiency of DNA and protein release was not correlated to the absorbed volume of a sample, but rather to the properties of swabs. The swab composition and structure can have a significant impact on the collection and release efficiency of a sample. Therefore, validation of POCT in relation to the used swabs for sampling is really important. The use of inappropriate swabs could lead to false negative or misleading analysis results.

Author Aleksandra Anna Zasada - [National Medicines Institute, Warsaw]
Aleksandra Anna Zasada,,
, Katarzyna Zacharczuk - [National Medicines Institute, Warsaw]
Katarzyna Zacharczuk,,
, Katarzyna Woźnica - [National Medicines Institute, Warsaw]
Katarzyna Woźnica,,
, Małgorzata Główka - [National Medicines Institute, Warsaw]
Małgorzata Główka,,
, Robert Ziółkowski (FC / CMB)
Robert Ziółkowski,,
- Chair of Medical Biotechnology
, Elżbieta Malinowska (FC / CMB)
Elżbieta Malinowska,,
- Chair of Medical Biotechnology
Journal seriesAMB Express, ISSN 2191-0855
Issue year2020
Publication size in sheets0.5
ASJC Classification1304 Biophysics; 2402 Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Languageen angielski
13568_2020_Article_978.pdf 889.62 KB
Score (nominal)70
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 70.0, 07-08-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus Citations = 0; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 0.727; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 2.226 (2) - 2018=2.485 (5)
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