Fact Check: Does Covid-19 test nasal swabs contain lithium?

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Quick Take

A social media post claims that the Covid-19 nasal swabs have lithium and other nanoparticles undeclared on the package leaflet. We fact-checked and found the claim to be False.

The Claim

A Facebook post claims, “The PCR/lateral flow test swabs are made of hard materials and contain a variety of (nano) particles made of silver, aluminium, titanium, glass fibres, ethylene oxide and lithium, many of which are undeclared in the package leaflet”.

The post further claims, “When the swabs enter the mucous membrane, they can cause wounds and inflammation and cause severe damage to the blood brain barrier”.

Fact Check

Does Covid-19 test nasal swabs contain lithium?

No. There is no evidence that suggests Covid-19 test nasal swabs contain lithium or other nanoparticles as mentioned in the social media post. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website recommends collecting the upper respiratory Covid-19 samples using sterile flocked, foam, spun polyester (e.g., dacron), and spun rayon tipped swabs. A study has shown that the Covid-19 test nasal swabs are also made of nylon.

The confusion might have arisen from the use of Lithium Heparin in the Covid-19 antibody tests given emergency approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, Lithium Heparin is only present in the blood collection tubes used by labs to collect the sample. 

Which authorization approves medical equipment like a nasal swab kit?

Covid-19 test nasal swabs need CE and UKCA authorization before the swabs can be made available to people. 

However, the U.K. Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) website has shown to issue Exceptional Use Authorisations (EUAs) for certain Covid-19 test nasal swabs. Under EUA, medical equipment like nasal swabs can be approved for emergency use with no need for a standard approval process. Only sufficient satisfactory evidence is needed for approval. Moreover, the MHRA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have set strict regulatory guidelines and standards for the medical equipment to be approved for use under EUA.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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