China starts using anal swab tests to detect Covid-19 infections

A Covid-19 nasal swab test isn’t pleasant. Many will say the long stick inserted deep inside the nasal cavity feels like it’s hitting their brain. A method arguably much more discomforting is now being used in some cities in China… an anal swab test. And, they say, it’s more effective at detecting a coronavirus infection.

After a Covid-19 infection was detected at primary school in Beijing, more than 1,000 teachers, staff members and students were tested using the anal swab method as well as the usual nose and throat swab tests. For the anal test, a cotton swab is inserted around 3 to 5 centimetres into the anus and then gently rotated around.

Beijing officials say anal swab samples were also taken from people living in neighbourhoods with Covid-19 cases as well as those in quarantine facilities.

Since the virus is detectable on faecal samples for a longer time than the respiratory tract, the anal tests can “increase the detection rate,” according to respiratory and infectious disease doctor Li Tongzeng.

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An official in the Weinan, a city in the northern Shaanxi province, says a 52 year old man whose symptoms of cough and appetite loss tested negative for Covid-19 in a throat test. He then tested positive using nose and anal swab tests, according to the city official.

SOURCES: Reuters | AFP

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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