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Research project

4S Sore Throat Study (Scores and Swabs to Self-assess Sore Throats)

Project overview

This research aims to see if it is possible (feasible) to do a study of using a scoring system and taking throat swabs in patients with sore throat who are at home. Most people with sore throat do not benefit from taking antibiotics. Self-assessment and self-testing may help target antibiotics to those who are most likely to benefit. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic people with sore throat are commonly assessed remotely by telephone/video consultations, and so self-testing has become more important.


Understanding the feasibility of conducting a study to evaluate home assessment of sore throat using clinical prediction rules and self/parental throat swabbing/saliva tests.

Exploring participant views about self-assessment and swabbing/saliva tests for sore throat.

Assessing the feasibility of participants using their smart phone to photograph their throat.

Developing tools to support participants in self-assessment and testing for sore throat.

Describing the population agreeing to participate in the study and compare it to data already collected on participants experiencing sore throat.

We will also describe the population, the detection of bacterial and virus pathogens from throat swab and saliva samples using culture and PCR and determine whether candidate inflammatory markers can be measured from swabs and saliva samples.

Twitter: @4sSoreThroat Facebook: 4S Sore Throat Study


Lead researcher

Professor Nick Francis

Head of School

Research interests

  • Infections in primary care
  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Respiratory infections
Other researchers

Professor Paul Little

Professor in Primary Care Research

Dr Ingrid Muller BSc, MSc, PhD, CPsychol, FHEA

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Self-management of long-term conditions
  • Behavioural health interventions
  • Digital health

Dr Mark Lown

Clinical Lecturer

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs

Elizabeth A. Miles,
Kirsten A. Smith,
Kirsty Rogers,
Beth Stuart,
Natalie Thompson,
, 2022 , Frontiers in Immunology , 13
Type: article
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