Assessing the use of minimally invasive self-sampling at home for long-term monitoring of the microbiota within UK families

E. Nikolaou, E. L. German, A. Howard, H. M. Nabwera, A. Matope, R. Robinson, F. Shiham, K. Liatsikos, C. McNamara, S. Kattera, K. Carter, C. M. Parry, J. M. Read, S. J. Allen, B. C. Urban, D. B. Hawcutt, H. Hill, A. M. Collins, D. M. Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monitoring the presence of commensal and pathogenic respiratory microorganisms is of critical global importance. However, community-based surveillance is difficult because nasopharyngeal swabs are uncomfortable and painful for a wide age range of participants. We designed a methodology for minimally invasive self-sampling at home and assessed its use for longitudinal monitoring of the oral, nasal and hand microbiota of adults and children within families. Healthy families with two adults and up to three children, living in and near Liverpool, United Kingdom, self-collected saliva, nasal lining fluid using synthetic absorptive matrices and hand swabs at home every two weeks for six months. Questionnaires were used to collect demographic and epidemiological data and assess feasibility and acceptability. Participants were invited to take part in an exit interview. Thirty-three families completed the study. Sampling using our approach was acceptable to 25/33 (76%) families, as sampling was fast (76%), easy (76%) and painless (60%). Saliva and hand sampling was acceptable to all participants of any age, whereas nasal sampling was accepted mostly by adults and children older than 5 years. Multi-niche self-sampling at home can be used by adults and children for longitudinal surveillance of respiratory microorganisms, providing key data for design of future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18201
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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