China starts using anal swabs to test for Covid-19

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If you thought throat and nasal swabs were invasive, think again. According to reports, China has started using anal swabs to detect Covid-19 in patients deemed high risk.

According to The Washington Post, China state media released the new protocol alleging that it is more accurate than the throat swab. The introduction of this new method has caused widespread discussion, and even outrage.

In a recent poll by Weibo – a Chinese social media platform – 80% of the respondents said that they could not accept this invasive method.

However, Chinese officials are concerned about the recent spike in Coronavirus cases. Especially with the Lunar New Year approaching which is reportedly known as the world’s largest annual migration.

The news publication reports that officials are concerned that silent Coronavirus cases would then result in a rapid spread across the nation during this period.

Some Chinese doctors feel that the science is there to support this method of testing. This comes after recovering patients testing positive through samples taken from the lower digestive tract, after negative results from throat and nasal swabs.

In response to the pending holiday, the Chinese government aims to vaccinate at least 50 million people before then. But according to The Washington Post, this would equate to less than 4% of their population – a rate far too low to counteract mass infection.

Eva Dou, Chinese correspondent for the publication, writes that China has become known for the severity of their preventative measures, often causing great inconvenience to citizens. These measures include the sealing of apartment buildings so that people can’t leave and random flash testing in the middle of the night.

“The state-run tabloid Global Times noted that the procedure was controversial, with some doctors saying nasal and throat swabs were more effective because Coronavirus is a respiratory infection,” reports The Washington Post.

The anal swab testing may now also be added to the list of more stringent measures. However, the method has been approved by the government following the testing procedures that took place last year.

The results from the small test groups have been published and is circulated in research journals.