DOCTORS in Spain are carrying out anal swab tests to detect COVID-19, it has been revealed.
It comes after China announced that it had made the switch as experts there believe a rectal swab provides a more reliable result.
In fact the technique was already being used in Galicia, northern Spain, as revealed by news channel CTRVG on January 27.
The Galician Health Ministry has since confirmed that is uses anal swabs to test for the virus, but added that the method is mostly reserved for patients who are intubated.
“They are performed on those patients who are in a very serious condition and intubated and therefore cannot undergo a nasal PCR test,” a spokesperson told El Correo on Monday.
Health professionals in Andalucia told the Olive Press today that the method has not been introduced in the most populous region.
“We are not using anal swabs to detect for coronavirus in Andalucia yet,” a nurse at the emergency department of the Velma Hospital in Sevilla said, “But I do think they are less invasive than the nasal tests.”
Testing via the anus began in Beijing and Qingdao in China last week, authorities there revealed.
Scientists told reporters that the tests would be more accurate than nasal, blood and saliva tests.
China said it is using the anal testing method on those most likely to be infected, such as travelleres arriving from abroad and tourists in quarantine hotels.
Dr Li Tongzeng from the You’an Hospital in Beijing said anal tests increase the detection rate among infected people as the virus lives longer in the anus than in the respiratory tract.
The technique has caused controversy in China, with many saying they felt humiliated by the process.
Others said the anal swab takes around 10 seconds.
A Weibo user from China joked: “I have had two anal tests. They also took a swab from my throat at the same time… Both times I was so afraid the nurse would forget the change the swab between them.”