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Jakarta Post

Smelly and dangerous? Scientists, doctors on whether farts transmit COVID-19

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 22, 2020   /   02:31 pm
Smelly and dangerous? Scientists, doctors on whether farts transmit COVID-19 Several doctors and scientists from across the world, including Indonesia, see a possibility of farts transmitting the coronavirus. (Shutterstock/File)

COVID-19 might be transmitted through farts and feces, Airlangga University molecular biologist Chairul Anwar Nidom has said.

According to him, the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute (HVRI) in China has tested the hypothesis using dogs and cats. Chairul explained that the researchers were conducting swab tests through the dogs’ anus – instead of through nose and throat.

Nidom went on to explain that such a swab test method was normal, given that the matching protein receptor, called ACE2, was normally found in several human organs – the lungs, kidneys, heart and the gut.

"The researchers found that the virus transmission through a respiratory system or digestive system depends on the host of the virus," he explained as quoted by tempo.co.

Although the research suggested that the coronavirus could be spread through farts and feces, Nidom said, there was no scientific evidence of flatulence alone posing a risk of COVID-19 transmission. However, the coronavirus was uniquely hard to predict, he added. 

Read also: Scientists call for global cooperation, use of scientific methods in fight against COVID-19

Meanwhile, Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology director Amin Soebandrio also confirmed that the coronavirus could match with receptors in the mucous membrane of the digestive system.

However, he also said the likelihood of this was low compared to the common transmission through respiratory droplets.

Previously, Australian doctor Andy Tagg pointed out that farts could spread the coronavirus – the coronavirus had been found in the feces of 55 percent of COVID-19 patients. While respiratory droplets transmission could be spread through coughing and touching hands, Tagg said, small feces particles like "aerosolized feces" among fart gases could also spread the virus.

However, Tagg also suggested that people not throw around assumptions against "gas", and he reminded everyone to keep their pants on.

"Perhaps SARS-CoV-2 can be spread through the power of parping – we need more evidence. So remember to wear appropriate PPE at all times and stay safe," Andy Tagg wrote on his Twitter account @andrewjtagg on Apr. 6. (trn)