Would you volunteer for a nasal swab after a long flight? Why the CDC wants you to do it

After being crammed into the cabin of an airplane during a long flight from abroad, you’re finally on your way home, but first, the government wants to stick a cotton swab up your nose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking passengers returning from international destinations at four U.S. airports to volunteer for its Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance (TGS) program.

Passengers at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Boston’s Logan International Airport, Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., and San Francisco International Airport can now have their nasal discharge sampled freely. anonymously when they leave the travel centers.

The new TGS pilot program is an expansion of a CDC initiative started in 2021 to test nasal swabs for the spread of COVID-19. Over the past two years, TGS has enrolled more than 360,000 air travelers, according to a CDC news release.

The CDC will now test for more than 30 pathogens, including flu, RSV, and other respiratory viruses. In addition to nasal swabs, the CDC will sample airplane wastewater to test for the presence of viruses.

“Expanding the Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance program to influenza, RSV and other pathogens is essential as we approach the fall respiratory season,” said Dr. Cindy Friedman, chief of the United States Health Division. CDC Travelers.

Passengers at JFK and several other international airports can volunteer to take nasal swabs to detect the presence of the coronavirus and other viruses.ZUMAPRESS.com

“The TGS program, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic, acted as an early warning system to detect new and rare variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and will do the same for other respiratory viruses in the future,” Friedman added. .

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TGS detected the SARS-CoV-2 variant BA.2.86 from a traveler entering the US within days of its global identification, according to the CDC.

Since the infected traveler had traveled from Japan, the discovery also informed the public health community that the new variant had also spread to Asia.

The new testing program, which will last several months, will be implemented by private companies Ginkgo Bioworks and XpresCheck.

“The dream is that similar programs are being run around the world in many, many places, so that you get much earlier detection than if someone showed up at a hospital,” Matthew McKnight, general manager of biosafety, told CNN. by Ginkgo Bioworks. .

“The idea would be, how do you prevent a pandemic? Something is detected very early, which allows it to be included in a much faster vaccine manufacturing process. Today we do not have as much early warning as we would like. And these are the early stages,” McKnight added.

The CDC's new testing program is an expansion of an initiative started in 2021 to test nasal swabs for the spread of COVID-19. The CDC’s new testing program is an expansion of an initiative started in 2021 to test nasal swabs for the spread of COVID-19. fake images

The current rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations includes more than 15,700 hospital admissions per 100,000 people for the week ending Oct. 28, according to the CDC, which also put the number of COVID-19-related deaths at just under 600. reported for the period. .

And as flu season begins, during the week ending October 28, public health laboratories reported 189 flu cases.

“We’re interested in these fall respiratory pathogens,” Friedman told CNN. “We want to be able to sequence them, to know the genomics of the strain.

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“There are many blind spots globally where testing and tracing are limited,” he added. “In general, we focus on airports that are international hubs and have flights coming from a wide range of international locations.”

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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