S’pore Trying Less Painful Covid-19 Test, Swab Only Enters Nose Midway

Singapore Trying New Covid-19 Swab Test Method Which Reduces Discomfort & Trauma

Images of people having swabs pushed up their noses surely cause discomfort to everyone.

The actual experience is no better, and the authorities are hoping to address that by trying out an alternative swab test method.


Instead of prodding through the nose to the back of the throat, this new way will be a little less invasive.

Current swab test method very unpleasant

In a press conference today (23 Sep), Ministry of Health (MOH) Director Kenneth Mak explained the rationale for implementing a new method.

Though the current technique has been effective in detecting cases, Prof Mak acknowledged its unpleasantness.

For essential workers who have to undergo regular tests especially, the experience may become very “traumatic”.


Extreme cases of forceful swabbing have led to nosebleeds before, which pose a further deterrence.

New method being implemented in phases

To ease the discomfort, MOH has been trying out a new method at the regional testing centres.

In particular, workers living in dormitories will be part of the pilot programme to test its feasibility.


Swabbing only midway into the nose or as the Scientific term calls it, the Oropharynx/ Mid-turbinate nasal method, according to MOH, will be much less painful.

If effective, other places like hospitals and polyclinics may use the method in the near future.

MOH to keep exploring different methods

Despite the availability of an alternative option, it still may not be the most efficient as a second sample from the back of the throat is still needed.

MOH will thus be studying the methods closely over time to see if taking 2 samples is really necessary.

Studies are also in progress to verify if other ways like taking deep throat samples will work too.

Less painful experience for everyone

With active efforts in improving the swabbing experience, hopefully more people will be open to get tested.

This will in turn help Singapore detect and curb infections quickly, and keep everyone safe.

Kudos to our authorities for attempting to make the process easier for everyone, and here’s to seeing few to no new cases soon.

Featured image adapted from New Straits Times.

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