INDIANAPOLIS — With the omicron variant causing COVID cases to rise across the country, the Food and Drug Administration is being urged to figure out just how well those rapid COVID tests are able to detect the variant.
If you can find one those rapid tests these days, you’re lucky.
Recent studies reportedly show some evidence that the omicron variant shows up in the throat first and not the nose. That news has reportedly led to pressure on the FDA to recommend people swab their throats instead of their noses.
Right now, though, the at-home rapid tests contain nose swabs and that’s just how one doctor says they should still be used.
“It was designed for the nose and if you try to take a throat specimen, there might be things there that would cause the test not to be valid,” said Eskenazi Health Dr. Amy Beth Kressel. “All tests are hard to come by and that’s why I would say be careful about being too picky, right? If you can get your hands on a test, I think you should just do it if you need it."
She said if throat swabs are the way to detect the omicron variant, it will take time to get the test right.
“I think before manufacturers are going to be able to recommend doing throat swabs, they’re going to have to prove that throat swabs work and that will probably take time and I don’t think people should be waiting for that,” she said.
Instead, she advises to take whatever test will give you the quickest results. If it reads negative, but you still feel sick, she says to go get a PCR test or wait a few days before trying a rapid test again.
“If you need a test now, get the test that you can get, right? I don’t think people should be shopping around trying to get a saliva test. I think they should get whatever they should get their hands on,” said Kressel.