China has begun doing anal swabs for testing people if they’ve been infected with Covid-19.
Reports say anal swab tests are now being used for some people who are at high-risk in the country. But while many people are extremely uncomfortable with this kind of invasive testing (and rightfully so), doctors believe that it is in fact the most effective method so far.
According to senior doctor Li Tongzeng, who is an infectious disease specialist at You’an Hospital, anal swabs can “increase the detection rate of infected people” since virus traces stay longer in the anus.
Dr. Li expanded:
“In some asymptomatic cases or in individuals with mild symptoms, they tend to recover from the illness very quickly. It’s possible that there will be no trace of the virus in their throat after three to five days.
“What we’ve found is that in some infected patients, the coronavirus survives for a longer period of time in their digestive tract or excrement than in their respiratory tract.”
China rolls out anal swab coronavirus tests, saying it’s more accurate than throat method https://t.co/TZoA17mgbM
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 27, 2021
Thus far, many people with Covid-19 in the Beijing area have been tested with the new method.
The sample is extracted by inserting a swab about 1.2 to 2 inches into the rear and then rotated a number of times before being taken out and placed in a sample container.
COVID-19 ANAL SWAB TESTING IN CHINA 🇨🇳
"Shanghai experts confirm, besides throat swab, anal swab tests are carried out on COVID-19 patients after two negative nucleic acid tests to minimize the risks of coronavirus infection relapse after recovery." pic.twitter.com/bdZp8zHtaS
— Mr___Killuminati (@Mr__Killuminati) January 24, 2021
Dr. Li also noted that while anal swabs do bring better results, it likely won’t be the standard practice for all people.
“Of course, anal swabs aren’t as convenient as throat swabs, so they’re only being used on individuals in key quarantine areas,” he said. ”This will reduce the return of false positives.”
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