Cough Check

What is Cough Check?

Cough Check is a Self-swabbing Pilot Study, which aims to come to patient’s homes and give them the chance to test themselves. Patients will be given a ‘swab’ which looks like a cotton swab or Q-Tip but thinner with a longer plastic stick. They are given instructions on how to perform the test. Once they have done the test, the test will be taken to the laboratory to be analysed by experts.

The patient will then be sent their results answering the crucial question – am I feeling sick because I have a cold or the flu or do I have COVID-19.


Can Cough Check Visit Me?

The Cough Check team can visit your home if:

– You are experience any of these symptoms: shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, loss of taste or small, fatigue, myalgia or chest pain
– You contact the Epicentre Team on WhatsApp at 072 843 7564 and ask to take part
– You organize a time to meet at your home with our team

Can I sign up for the study?

Yes, contact the Epicentre Team on WhatsApp at 072 843 7564 and ask to take part

When Will I Know if I have Been Selected to Take Part?

The Epicentre Team will reply to your message and let you know if you are eligable to be visited.

If I get selected, what will the Cough Check team want me to do?

  • The Cough Check team will ask you some questions they read on their tablet. These questions are multiple choice and very easy.
  • The Cough Check team will ask you to test yourself and give you instructions on how to do it. This involves taking a long thin cotton Q-tip known as a swab and sticking it up your nose and slowly turning it, taking it out and placing it in a protective plastic container.
  • The Cough Check team will then send your ‘swab’ to our lab at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases to test for COVID-19, the common cold and the flu.

What if I just want to get tested for free but don’t want to be part of a study?

❌ Unfortunately, it is a requirement of our free testing that you take part in our study.
✔ You are welcome to make use of our paid testing service.

Will I find out my results of my test?

Yes, we will send you your results.

Is Cough Check anonymous?

Yes, all participants’ details are kept private so that participants cannot be identified. To do this we link participants to a barcode not their name.

Cough Check has gone through a very strict ‘ethical review’ with several independent ethical committees for every part of the study. We have to protect every participant and follow a very strict plan about what happens to each person’s information (in terms of where it goes & who sees it). This will be explained in detail to every person who participates. Each team member in the Cough Check study, is required to sign a confidentiality agreement when they begin working on the project. So they may not discuss this information or disclose it to any outside parties.

How will getting information on a few people give us information on 58.56 million South African’s COVID-19, flu and common cold status?

  • Through statistics and many platforms working together.
  • Through the Cough Check project we will get information on common symptoms and connect them to the correct virus through the test they do.
  • The Virus Watch program is also working with CoughWatchSA, an app on the app store that people can download and put their symptoms into which can tell them if they should get a COVID-19 test. These symptoms are being anonymously recorded and will also help to inform scientists.
  • Viral Watch is also working with Doctors across South Africa to give them information anonymously on patients symptoms and viruses that are effect them.
  • Viral Watch also has other studies they are running which will provide more information.

 Why is it important for people to participate?

Every person who participates gives us more information on COVID-19, the flu and the common cold is impacting South Africans like you around the country. By testing yourself you help us show scientists that patients should be given the power to control their own health- you help South Africa make testing easier and safer.

Has Epicentre done other research studies on COVID-19 in South Africa?

Yes, Genesis Analytics, Epicentre & the National Institute for Communicable Diseases has just finished HUTS or the Healthcare Utilisation and Seroprevalence Survey.

  • HUTS focused on 3 communities Edendale in KZN, Mitchelles Plain in WC, and Klerksdorp in North West. For more information & the early findings of this study click here
  • NCAS looked at the effects of COVID-19 on South Africans and studied their antibodies. NCAS visited all 9 provinces and tested over 18.5k people for COVID-19.

Does Cough Check have anything to do with vaccines?

You will help inform the next flu vaccine and make it more effective by telling us what kind of flu is infecting people. You will also help inform on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If I don’t like the vaccine, should I take part in Cough Check?

Yes, Cough Check is crucial in giving people more control of their health. If you are sceptical about COVID-19, non-government organizations like Epicentre looking into the virus is a good thing.

Where can I get more information on Cough Check?

You can take a look at our in depth look at Cough Check on our website here

Diseases A-Z Index



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