Study shows children can self-swab for COVID-19 test


In a recent study, children were successfully able to self-swab and receive their own COVID-19 test results after basic instructions.

School-aged children can self-swab to receive their own COVID-19 test results, according to a recent study.

Clinical researchers from Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta conducted a study with 197 children. The children were shown a 90 second video on how to self-swab, then were given written instructions with pictures included.

Once instructed, the children began to self-swab. A healthcare worker then collected a second sample with a different swab for each child.

Both samples were sent to a clinical laboratory. There, it was found that about 98% of positive results and about 98% of negative results matched between the children’s self-swabs and the healthcare worker’s swabs. Both samples had a similar rate of detections, identifying 44% of symptomatic, positive cases of COVID-19.

Children aged less than 8 years often needed more assistance than those aged over 8 years, with about 22% of younger children needing assistance compared to about 6% of older children Once assistance was given, both groups saw an even detection rate.

“Seeing how closely the results line up between the children and trained health care workers is a strong indicator that these age groups are fully capable of swabbing themselves if given proper instruction,” said Jesse Waggoner, MD, assistant professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine and one of the lead authors on the study.

In the recent environment, schools are often having children take repeated COVID-19 tests. In many instances, trained professionals are not available for these students. Self-swabbing will expand access to COVID-19 testing for school-aged children.


NIH-funded pediatric COVID-19 testing study finds school-aged children can self-swab. National Institutes of Health. August 26, 2022. Accessed August 29, 2022.

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