A piece of absorbent material (such as cotton), usually wound around one end of a small stick and used either to apply medication or to remove material from an area.

Two hands insert a swab into a person's noseIn medical settings, a swab can also refer to a swab test which is when a specimen is collected using a swab. An RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 infection involves inserting a 15cm-long (6-inch) swab into a person’s nose, and into the cavity between the nose and mouth (nasopharyngeal swab) for 15 seconds, and rotating it several times.  According to guidelines, the swabbing is then repeated on the other side of the nose, to make sure enough material is collected. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.


Infectious Disease Tests


RT-PCR (real time – reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction)COVID-19SARS-CoV-2Virus