Diagnostic tests that use swabs have become essential for diagnosing various infections, including respiratory illnesses, sexually transmitted infections, and other diseases. However, the type of swab used for each test can vary depending on the specific requirements of the test. Foam swabs have become increasingly popular for diagnostic purposes due to the unique properties that make them ideal for certain tests. This article will discuss the different types of diagnostic tests and how foam swabs can be used in each test. We will also discuss Foamtec Medical and how they manufacture custom foam swabs for various diagnostic purposes.


PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test: 

The PCR test is currently one of the most commonly used diagnostic tests not only for COVID-19 but also for many other virology tests. The PCR test is a widely used molecular biology technique used to detect DNA and RNA sequences. This test involves using a swab to collect a sample from the nose, throat, or other areas where the virus is likely present and analyzed in a laboratory using the PCR method. Foam swabs are ideal for PCR tests. The unique cellular structure that allows for better absorption and elution of samples leads to more accurate results. Advancements in PCR research have led to the development of new assays:

RT-PCR – Reverse Transcription PCR using RNA as a template

qPCR – Quantitative PCR used to detect, characterize, and quantify nucleic acids

RT-qPCR –RNA transcripts are quantified by reverse transcribing them into cDNA first

One example of a highly used rRT-PCR test is the influenza test. This common viral infection can be easily detected with a simple nose or throat swab. Foam swabs are ideal for influenza tests because they have a high release level for enhanced test accuracy.

Foamtec Medical manufactures foam swabs that are designed for PCR testing and compatible with various sample collection and handling systems. Additionally, Foamtec foam swabs are designed with a flexible, breakable shaft that allows for easy sample transfer into the test device, minimizing the risk of contamination.



Rapid antigen test: 

Although not considered as reliable as PCR tests, rapid antigen test analyzes samples for the presence of viral antigens and can produce results within a few minutes. Antigens trigger the generation of antibodies evident in the specimen. Foam swabs are used for rapid antigen tests due to the high collection of cells and have a non-abrasive surface that improves patient comfort. 


Culture test: 

The culture test collects a sample from the affected area, such as the throat, urethra, or cervix. It is cultured in a laboratory to grow the virus or bacteria causing the infection. Foam swabs are ideal for culture tests because they have a high absorbency level, allowing for easier and better sample collection that increases accuracy in results.


STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) tests: 

Swab tests are commonly used to diagnose STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes. Foam swabs are ideal for STI tests due to the soft, non-abrasive surface for sensitive areas. Foam swabs also have a large surface area that enhances cell collection, making diagnosing STIs easier. 


Strep test: 

The presence of group A streptococcus bacteria in the sample, which can cause strep throat, indicates a positive result. Foam swabs are ideal for strep tests because they have a unique cellular structure for better sample collection and elution. Additionally, foam swabs are designed with a flexible, breakable shaft allowing easy sample transfer into the transport media tube.


Foam swabs have led to more accurate testing, increased patient comfort, and minimized risk of contamination, making them an essential tool in receiving precise test results.

If you need consistent, quality, and traceable swabs, contact our Vice President of Sales & Operations at 866-922-7160 or mstrauss@foamtecusa.com.