Date published: 
6 August 2020
Type: 
Webinar
Audience: 
Health sector
Webinar date : 
Thursday, August 13 2020 11:30 am to 12:00 pm AEST
COVID-19 response update for GPs – 13 August 2020

Presenters

  • Professor Michael Kidd
  • Dr Tony Bartone
  • Dr Lucas De Toca

Questions and answers from the webinar

I've seen a patient with gastro symptoms COVID positive, but housemates tested negative with symptoms. Could we be getting false negatives doing nasal swabs instead of faecal PCR?

The Australian Government is taking a strong and decisive approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is based on the latest medical advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and its expert standing committees, including the Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN).

Accurate diagnostic testing plays a critical role in defining the epidemiology of the disease, informing case and contact management, and ultimately in reducing viral transmission. In Australia, the best test for identifying SARS-CoV-2 infection (the virus that causes COVID-19) involves collection of a respiratory sample, using a combined bilateral deep nasal and oropharyngeal swab.

There is evidence that ribonucleic acid (RNA) from the virus has been detected in non-respiratory specimens, including urine and stool. The PHLN is monitoring literature regarding the testing of alternative specimens, including stool. However at this time there is insufficient evidence to support this as a routine testing approach. Furthermore, commercial COVID-19 testing instruments are specifically designed to test specific respiratory specimens, not stool, and must be used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Some pathologists and medical laboratory scientists have developed in-house tests for stool swabs, however validation of this approach is ongoing.

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