By DAVID TULLER OCT. 6, 2020 7:05 AM
As the coronavirus pandemic broke out across the country, healthcare providers and scientists relied on the standard method for detecting respiratory viruses: sticking a long, swab deep into the nose to get a sample. The obstacles to implementing such testing on a mass scale quickly became clear. Among them: Many people were wary of the unpleasant procedure, called a nasopharyngeal swab. It can be performed only by trained health workers, putting them at risk of infection and adding costs. And the swabs and chemicals needed to test for the virus almost immediately were in short supply.