A study by India’s top medical research body has found that swill from gargling could be used for testing for COVID-19, as the country raced towards three million infections on Friday.
A sample of gargled water may be a viable alternative to the nostril or throat swab for detection of the novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, according to the study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
“Adoption of gargle lavage for sample collection will have a significant impact as it will enable easy self-collection, relieve healthcare workers and also lead to substantial cost savings by reducing the need for swabs and personal protective equipment’’ the ICMR said.
India, a country of 1.3 billion, has so far reported 2,905,823 infections.
The second only to the United States and Brazil, and 54,849 deaths.
Healthcare workers and testing centres in several regions are overburdened.
The ICMR study was carried out at a Delhi hospital on 50 confirmed COVID-19 patients, with a throat or nose swab and a gargle sample taken from each patient.
“All gargle samples were positive and comparable to their corresponding swab samples irrespective of the symptoms and duration of illness,’’ the study showed.