COVID-19 Sample Collection Kits for Upper Respiratory Tract Specimens

Due to the recent 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we have been getting many inquiries about what type of swabs, media, and kits should be used for COVID-19 sample collection prior to testing. Below we have a short guide on which COPAN products meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens for Coronavirus investigations.

Which Type of Swab Should be Used to Collect Samples to Test for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

As outlined in the CDC guidelines for the collection and handling of clinical specimens suspected of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), for upper respiratory tract samples, health workers should only use synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts, like COPAN FLOQSwabs®. It is important not to use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts when testing for COVID-19. These swabs can contain substances that inactivate some viruses and can inhibit PCR testing [1]. 

How Should Collection Kits be Used for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing?

In the CDC Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the CDC recommends taking a nasopharyngeal AND oropharyngeal swab (NP/OP swab) from PUI for COVID-19 for upper respiratory tract samples. The CDC guidelines also direct healthcare workers to place swabs immediately into sterile tubes containing 2-3 ml of viral transport media, like COPAN UTM® Universal Transport Medium [1]. It is important to note that each swab should be placed individually in separate vials to avoid possible specimen rejection by testing laboratories.

COVID-19 Sample Collection Kits and Components that Meet the CDC’s Guidelines

COPAN makes COVID-19 collection and transport kits that are compatible with the CDC-recommended configuration that pairs 3mL of UTM® universal viral transport medium and a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal flocked swab.

Pre-packaged COVID-19 Kits

Also, Healthcare Providers can quickly assemble in-house sample collection kits and place the items in a Ziploc/Minigrip bag for distribution using the following COPAN item numbers:

UTM® 330C – 3 mL UTM® Medium in 16x100mm Tube

FLOQSwabs® 503CS01 – Flexible Minitip (Nasopharyngeal) Flocked Swab with 100mm Breakpoint

FLOQSwabs® 519CS01** – Regular Flocked (Oropharyngeal) Swab with 100mm Breakpoint

Individual Orderable Components: 3mL UTM®, one regular FLOQSwab®, One Flexible Minitip FLOQSwab®

Distributor Links:

Part #
Part #
BD Part # DHI/
Part #
Part #
Collection Kit
Collection Kit:
Minitip Flocked Swab
+ 3 mL UTM® Tube
306C Sample
Collection Kit
Collection Kit:
Regular Flocked Swab
+ 3mL UTM® Tube
330C Collection Kit
3 mL UTM® Medium
in 16x100mm Tube**
330CHL220220330C.DHI 23001720
503CS01 Collection Kit
Flexible Minitip
Flocked Swab
N/A 220252 503CS01.DHI 23600952
519CS01 Collection Kit
Flocked Swab
N/A 220250 N/A23600957

** It is important to note that each swab should be placed individually in separate vials to avoid possible specimen rejection by testing laboratories.

Also available from Hardy Diagnostics:

Viral Transport Medium, 3ml, No Swab Included: For the collection and transport of clinical specimens for the recovery of viral agents including, but not limited to, Herpes Simplex Type I, Herpes Simplex Type II, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Influenza A, Influenza B, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Echovirus, Adenovirus, etc. Viral Transport Medium consists of Modified Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution, supplemented with animal protein and sucrose for virus stabilization. A buffer solution is used to maintain pH at 7.3 +/- 0.2. Phenol red is the pH indicator. Selective agents are added to inhibit bacterial and fungal contaminants. The medium acts as a cryoprotectant to ensure virus stabilization through freezing and thawing.

Cat. no. R99, Manufactured by Hardy Diagnostics, 20 per box, Storage 2-8°C before inoculation/ 2-30°C once inoculated for up to 48 hours or -70°C for long-term storage.

Current Demand Exceeds Supply. When you place an order, please state your daily testing volume needs. We will make every attempt to allocate available supply to meet your daily requirements.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, February 14). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Guidelines for Clinical Specimens. Retrieved February 27, 2020, from

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Article contributed by COPAN USA. See the original post here

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