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Covid-19 Testing Needs Ethylene Oxide for Sterilizing all the Nasal Swabs

One of the pillars of the pandemic’s containment strategy is COVID-19 infection testing. Swabs are used to collect material from the nasal passage or throat for numerous types of antigen and PCR assays, which is then evaluated for the presence of SARS-CoV-2. A man stated that ethylene oxide on nasal swabs in COVID-19 testing kits used in Australia is dangerous in a video published on TikTok and Instagram.

Ethylene oxide on the swab, according to the guy in the TikTok video, modifies DNA and raises a person’s risk of acquiring several types of cancer. He also claimed that inhaling dry ethylene oxide via a nasal swab causes deadly side effects. As a result, one social media user claimed that ethylene oxide reacts chemically with numerous proteins and DNA, causing cellular structures to be damaged or destroyed. Similar assertions have been made in the past, including on Facebook about the use of nasal swabs in PCR tests in the United Kingdom.

A petition to the UK parliament to remove ethylene oxide from self-testing kits has received over 300 signatures. These and other similar claims have been debunked, for example, here, here, and here. Medical products and gadgets are sterilised with ethylene oxide. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ethylene oxide gas is used to sterilise nearly half of all sterile medical devices, especially those that are susceptible to heat or moisture.

As the U.K. Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) states, ethylene oxide gas sterilisation is one of two alternatives for sterilising nose swabs used for COVID-19 examinations, the other being radiation. The products are placed in a chamber that is filled with ethylene oxide gas throughout this sterilisation procedure. The sterilised product is “aerated” as part of the sterilisation process to eliminate any leftover ethylene oxide.

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