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29 January 2021
No need for anal swabs to detect high-risk COVID-19 cases, says Prof Burtram Fielding, UWC Coronavirologist and Director of Research Development
News that China is now using anal swab tests to identify those at high-risk of dying due to COVID-19 has been dismissed as “unnecessary for routine testing” in ICUs or hospital settings by Professor Burtram Fielding, Coronavirologist and Director of Research Development at the University of the Western Cape.

“There are some scientific studies reported in reputable medical and science journals showing that anal swabs two weeks after the onset of symptoms can be effective for detecting those who are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19; these patients have a much higher viral load in anal swabs than low risk patients. “But this rather invasive method is not required for routine testing,” says Prof Fielding. 

He says online prediction models and symptom calculators are very promising and have been shown to be accurate when it comes to identifying COVID-19 patients with a high risk of developing severe COVID-19 and dying. 

Listen to the interview here.