Frequently Asked Questions

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Sample collection related questions:

What type of sample does iSWAB collects

Mainly buccal/cheek cells

Why does the iSWAB selects only buccal/cheek cells
Is there a better time in the day to perform the collection?

When collecting all the swabs supplied in the iSWAB kit you generate enough concentrated yields required for the majority of genomics downstream applications. However, based on our testing, collecting early in the day before brushing your teeth could give 15-20% extra yield.

What do I need to consider before collecting my sample using the iSWAB kit?

Abstain from eating, chewing gum, smoking brushing teach or drinking 30 minutes before collecting the sample. Especially abstain from drinking hot beverages, such as coffee, tea, etc.

Do I have to use all the swabs provided in the kit?

We recommend using all the swabs provided in the kit. This will ensure getting the highest yields.

How long do I need to swab the inside of my cheek?

The protocol calls for 20 seconds for each swab.  While swabbing , try to rotate the swab in a full rotation o maximize the amount of buccal cells collected by each swab.

Are there any restrictions such as physical or age on using the iSWAB as the method of choice for sample collection?

Because of the ease of use and collection method, the iSWAB is suitable for any age group from infants to elderly.  It can be self collected or can be done by assisted collection by another house hold member, guardian or staff member.

How do I check if the iSWAB sample was collected properly?

After using all the swabs provided in the kit, the collected sample should be cloudy/milky with turbidity similar to the image below labeled with “Proper Collection

Collection Comparison

If the sample is not cloudy/milky as described above, repeat the swabbing process after 2 hrs or next day in the morning using Q-tips swabs or ear wax cleaning tips or any standard cotton swabs. Usually using two extra swabs for the re-swabbing might be sufficient, but make sure the liquid in the tube looks similar to the image above before shipping the sample back to the processing lab.


Shipping recommendations:

Does the collected sample need to be shipped under certain temperature ranges?

The collected sample can be shipped under ambient temperature. No need for any refrigeration or cold chain transport involvement.

Sample Processing:

How much volume do I need to use from the collected iSWAB sample?

This depends on the yield requirement for your downstream application. You can prep 200-300µL or the whole sample volume in the iSWAB tube and leave the rest for future use. However, there are extraction methods that will allow you to process the content of the whole tube at once.

Do I need to remove the iSWAB insert before processing the sample?

The insert inside the iSWAB tube is designed to allow for a standard 200-300 µL pipette tip to access the collected sample in the iSWAB tube.  Some robotic tips, such as from the Hamiltons, Tecans, and the Bravo instruments have narrow neck and large access volumes as high as 500µL.

Do you recommend a specific rack for automated sample processing?

The iSWAB was designed to simplify the sample collection as well as the processing. The majority of automated liquid handling systems/robotics has predesigned racks for the iSWAB screw cap self-standing tube.  Another option is to use Abgene 48 tube rack (AB-1434) or any other tube rack with SBS footprint. Also, the end user can dispense the content of the tubes into a 96 Well 2.2 mL deep well plate to help increase processing throughput.

What are the average yields from each collected iSWAB sample?

Please check the data sheet for individual sample collection kits.

Can I use the iSWAB collected sample directly in my downstream application without the need for extraction?

The proprietary iSWAB buffer is a unique formulation that not only stabilizes the samples at the point of collection, but performs a gentle lysis which slowly releases DNA from the cells into the buffer over a period of several hours. This feature enables the mixture to be used in a direct-to-PCR application, in which the extraction step is skipped entirely (check the resources section for further information) . The benefits of this application are:

  • Time, cost, and labor savings by eliminating extraction reagents and processing time
  • Rapid field-based analysis

For more complex downstream applications such as Next Generation Sequencing or microarrays, however, we still recommend performing a standard DNA extraction.

What genomic DNA extraction method do you recommend?

Unlike saliva collection methods, the iSWAB buffer is an alcohol-free preserving and lysis system. Therefore any commercially available gDNA extraction method for blood can be utilized with no further modifications to the protocol such as QIAamp, Gentra Puregene, Genfind v2 and DNAdvance (check the resources section for further information). Mawi also provides our own gDNA extraction kits in both filtration and mag bead-based chemistries. Please contact us at info@mawidna for more information.

Sample input guidelines:

QIAamp: 200-300µL
Mawi Mini-Prep: 200-300µL
Gentra Puregene: 300µL to 1mL
Genfind v2: 300-600µL
DNAdvance: 200-300µL

What is the bacterial DNA content of collected iSWAB sample?

Less than 1% per collected sample.

How do you achieve low bacterial DNA content in iSWAB collected information?

This information is proprietary and critical part of the iSWAB innovation.

What is the shelf life of the collected iSWAB samples?

One year based on real time stability testing and 5 years based on accelerated stability testing. Testing was performed based on ambient  temperature storage and transport.

What downstream applications are the ISWAB-DNA is compatible with?

–  Direct PCR applications
–  DNA Sequencing: Sanger and NGS
–  Genotyping: PCR and microarray based
–  Gene expression

The iSWAB-DNA has been tested successfully with: ABI 3100, 3130, 3730XL, HISeq, MySeq, Ion Torrent, Proton, Illumina and Affymetrix microarray systems, Fluidigm, QuantStudio, and several other qPCR and PCR systems.

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