At-home self-collection of saliva, oropharyngeal swabs and dried blood spots for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis and serology: Post-collection acceptability of specimen collection process and patient confidence in specimens
Background: Options to increase the ease of testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection and immune response are needed. Self-collection of diagnostic specimens at home offers an avenue to allow people to test for SARS-CoV-2 infection or immune response without traveling to a clinic or laboratory. Before this study, survey respondents indicated willingness to self-collect specimens for COVID-related tests, but hypothetical willingness can differ from post-collection acceptability after participants collect specimens.
Methods: 153 US adults were enrolled in a study of the willingness and feasibility of patients to self-collect three diagnostic specimens (saliva, oropharyngeal swab (OPS) and dried blood spot (DBS) card) while observed by a clinician through a telehealth session. After the specimens were collected, 148 participants participated in a survey about the acceptability of the collection, packing and shipping process, and their confidence in the samples collected for COVID-related laboratory testing.
Results: A large majority of participants (>84%) reported that collecting, packing and shipping of saliva, OPS, and DBS specimens were acceptable. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) reported being confident or very confident that the specimens they collected were sufficient for laboratory analysis.There were no differences in acceptability for any specimen type, packing and shipping, or confidence in samples, by gender, age, race/ethnicity, or educational level.
Conclusions: Self-collection of specimens for SARS-CoV-2 testing, and preparing and shipping specimens for analysis, were acceptable in a diverse group of US adults. Further refinement of materials and instructions to support self-collection of saliva, OPS and DBS specimens for COVID-related testing is needed.