MANILA, Philippines — Conducting anal swabs to detect potential COVID-19 infections is “very inconvenient” to be rolled out in the Philippines but this testing regimen could be studied, the Department of Health said Friday.
“For the DOH, if it’s really necessary and we see sufficient evidence that it will yield accurate results, the government will think about it carefully because it’s really inconvenient for both the individual and the health worker,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in Filipino.
COVID-19 tests in the country have mostly been conducted using throat and nose swabs. The Philippine Red Cross recently started its cheaper and easier saliva-based testing.
If anal swab testing will be considered in the Philippines, it will have to undergo validation by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
Vergeire added the invasive procedure will also have to be registered with the country’s Food and Drug Administration.
China began using anal swabs to test those it considers at high risk of getting COVID-19.
Social media users are squirming over the method, which doctors said it more effective in detecting the virus. Li Tongzeng, a senior doctor from Beijing’s You’an Hospital said that traces of the virus linger longer in the anus than in the respiratory tract.
CCTV, China’s state-controlled broadcaster, said anal swabs will not be used as widely as other techniques such as throat and nose swabs. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from Agence France-Presse
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