Kenyans have rejected the anal swab COVID-19 testing that was recently introduced in China.
An anal swab test involves inserting a cotton-tipped swab about 3-5 centimeters into the rectum, which is then taken to a laboratory to be tested for COVID-19. The sample is analyzed in the same way as the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 tests taken from the nose or throat.
A study showed that coronavirus lasts longer in the anus or faeces than in the respiratory tract, making an anal swab test a more efficient way of identifying the disease in mild or asymptomatic cases.
Ahmed Khalebi, a pathologist working with Lancet Kenya, says it is easier to detect COVID-19 using the anal swab than through the nasal swab.
“If someone has COVID-19, it can be found in the stool and the anus, we can pick the genetic material, the whole point of testing with the anal swab is that you can pick the viral RNA which is there for a longer time compared to the respiratory tract where it stays for a shorter period,” Dr. Khalebi told Citizen TV.
The testing method has been a center of conversation among Kenyans on social media, with many expressing their distaste with the test.
Mbithi Musau said: “Some things are irrational, to say the least. This is not welcome here in Kenya because it erodes your dignity and privacy.”
Veronicah Kigo noted: “I can’t even picture myself taking such a test. How or where do I begin? For me and my family, it is a big NO!”
@Deputy_Hockey tweeted: “Listen...I don’t know if this is some kind of sick prank or misinformation or what but I swear on God if butt swabs become the new regular testing method for COVID I will NEVER get tested again.”