Disease and illness seem to be everywhere in our daily lives. The current COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest of many deadly viruses that can cause a major impact on our bodies’ cell production. As we have all experienced, this pandemic has caused a significant impact on our daily lives and lifestyles. We have had to adjust from our life as usual behavior and have now changed the way we handle everything from socialization to medications, fitness, and even diet in some cases. The rampant destruction of our ability to fight off deadly viruses, and not just COVID-19, has brought about a unnerving feeling of panic that we could be infected, or infect others, by performing such routine task like DNA tests. But how much do illnesses affect our ability to attempt a DNA paternity test?
DNA tests are usually done to determine paternity, whether it is by testing the suspected father directly with a child in question, or whether we are testing to see if sibling have the same father, or even performing a grandparent test to establish paternity when the father is not available. And these results are important! You want to receive the results as soon as possible and we understand that. However, the two questions we are asked on an almost daily basis since the COVID-19 pandemic has started is, “is it safe to do a DNA test now?” and “does having COVID-19, or a COVID-19 vaccination, have any effect on my DNA and the test results?”
These questions, and concerns, are valid. We want to provide you straightforward answers in this article.
First, any DNA test that need to be done does not normally involve an invasive medical process. A cheek swab is the most common method which is used to gain access to our genetic code or DNA. For all home DNA tests the mouth swabs can be self-administered, and do not have to have anyone near you to collect your DNA sample. Home DNA testing is the most common method of paternity testing, sibling DNA tests, grandparent DNA testing, and twin zygosity testing. Legal DNA testing is used for court issues, or where a chain of custody and the verification of a person’s identity is necessary. In legal cases, there are trained, and approved DNA collectors with whom we can set an appointment for your collection, and who are trained in proper safety protocols for DNA collection. So the collection itself, whether for private results of legally admissible DNA results, should pose no issue.
Second, the buccal cells that are collection by a mouth swab, which are the DNA samples tested in lab, are unaffected by either regular illness or disease, or the COVID-19 virus. The only exception to this is if you have undergone either a stem cell transplant, bone marrow transplant, skin graft near the mouth, or a blood transfusion in the last 90-180 days. If you have, we strongly recommend that you wait to take a DNA test for the best results. If you have not undergone any of these medical procedures, you do not need to be concerned as the DNA sample you submit will not undergo any sort of change due to an underlying sickness or medication. Even if you are currently ill, a home DNA test is still a viable option to determine paternity, or twin zygosity. and illnesses may not alter your DNA but medical treatments can change the way your DNA is formed.
Third, when sending your DNA samples to the lab for processing, there is no need to indicate that you have any illness. Your cheek swab will be handled with the utmost care, and the same process, whether you are sick or healthy. Our lab techs go to great lengths to ensure that there is no contamination on the swab tested.
Finally, we want to encourage you to focus on the directions for using a mouth swab, and the handling of your DNA sample, after it has been collected. The sample should be free from any contamination from the time you open your mouth, until you securely seal it in collection envelope. In addition, avoid sending the sample while it is damp with saliva as it could rip through the paper envelope and runs a higher risk of getting contaminated.
You can expect most accredited laboratories, whether used for DNA testing or otherwise, to be devoting their sometimes limited resources, in helping to ensure safety for their employee, maintain the integrity of DNA samples, and combat the ongoing pandemic, all at the same time. We continue to accept DNA test order, as well as maintaining our processing time commitments, during challenging times. While we do not anticipate it, we will always notify you, and ask for your patience, should delays arise from our vendors and partners.
You can rest easy knowing that your home DNA test will not be affected as a result of being exposed to various illnesses.