Chinese citizens are getting ready to get tested in a new COVID-19 detection process, anal swabs.
The Chinese media, which is controlled by the state, has spread the notion that the newly introduced anal testing will benefit high-risk groups citing claims by a deputy director in charge of infectious disease at Beijing You’an Hospital, Li Tongzeng. As per reports, some tests have been conducted already with more to be undertaken as the country nears its Lunar New Year holidays.
According to Li, these anal tests are significant in lowering the chances of false-negative results among patients who are at high risk. This is because the virus can stay in the intestinal system for many days even after it is cleared out of the respiratory system.
He said on CCTV on Sunday that the anal swab testing will help in identifying an infected person with more accuracy. However, anal testing is still not the most convenient method and hence, only key groups in quarantine will be receiving both.
Throat swab testing will still remain the method of choice.
This caused a stir among citizens some of whom expressed their outrage on social media.
There was a comment on China’s social networking site, Weibo service that it might be a low harm testing but it will also cause extreme humiliation.
There were also jokes about the mix-up of the swabs.
A person wrote that they have already done two anal swabs and was always carrying a fear that the nurse would forget to use a new swab.
According to Dr. Yang Zhanqiu of Wuhan University, throat swabs make the best method for detecting COVID-19 as it is a virus that is contracted through the upper respiratory tract.
There still is not any evidence that suggests that the virus is transmitted through a person’s digestive system.
Regarding other nations, anal swab testing has still not been embraced but health agencies in various countries such as Canada were currently undergoing sewage testing to understand the presence of the virus among the local mass.
China’s National Health Commission’s investigation of anal swab testing is going on since early last year and many people have already taken the test.
A paper that is published by Chinese researchers back in August says that this kind of testing could be the ultimate one before a patient is released from the hospital.
A test was done on Alex Wang, 21 in September who told Vice News that the feeling is comparable to having diarrhea. He said that although he was shy at first, he was empathetic about the country’s pressure to prevent further outbreaks.
With the upcoming holidays, China is set to see about 1.7 billion passenger trips. Thus, China is all the more interested in preventing yet another grave situation.
China has also implemented tightened travel rules and has put restrictions on international arrivals to minimize the number of infections.