What Is Anal Swab COVID-19 Test Rolled Out By China? Read Here

New Delhi:  China recently began using anal swabs to test those considered at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

These tests have mainly been conducted on residents in China’s northern regions and Beijing, where there has been a surge in COVID-19 cases, and those in quarantine facilities, India Today reported adding that China has recorded more than 89,000 COVID-19 cases and 4,600 deaths.

What is the anal swab test all about?

A saline-soaked cotton swab is inserted about three to five centimeters (one to two inches) into the anus, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The sample is then tested for active traces of the novel coronavirus. However, several people have complained of inconvenience, the report added.

How effective is it?

The basis of the tests is research that traces of the virus found in the anus can last longer than in the respiratory tract. Most Chinese doctors have backed anal swab tests on the basis that recovered patients have continued to test positive through samples from the lower digestive tract days after nasal and throat swabs came back negative, a report in Washington Post said.

The Global Times quoted Zhang Wenhong of Huashan Hospital in Shanghai as saying that such swabs could be useful in helping minimise the risk of relapse after recovery.

Who all are taking the anal swab test?

The anal swab test is being used on at-risk groups, including at quarantine sites, especially in the northern part of the country, like Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, where cases have spiked in the winter.

Last week, anal swabs were taken from more than 1,000 teachers, staffers and students at a primary school in Beijing after one asymptomatic case was detected on campus. Earlier this week, passengers on a flight from Changchun to Beijing were told to disembark after officials discovered that someone from a hotspot area was on board. They were then subjected to anl swab tests, Bloomberg reported.


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