Anal Swabs Used to Test for SARS-CoV-2 Virus in China

Anal Swabs Used to Test for SARS-CoV-2 Virus in China

Health authorities in China have begun using anal swabs to test patients for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that can cause  COVID-19.1 While COVID-19 outbreaks continue to increase in China as the Lunar New Year approaches, more than a million residents in Beijing have been administered anal swabs to test for the virus. Although anal swabs have been in used in China since 2020, the test was only reserved for individuals in potential COVID-19 “hotspots.”2

Anal Swab Reported to Be More Accurate Testing Method, Especially for Asymptomatic People

Some Chinese scientists are saying that, although throat swabs have been used since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic due to its convenience and suitability for large-scale testing, anal swabs yield more accuracy than throat and nasal swabs.3

Dr. Li Tongzeng, deputy director of the respiratory and infectious disease department of Beijing Youan Hospital said that the use of the new detection technique is based on research that shows that traces of the coronavirus found in the anus can last longer than in the respiratory tract.4

In August 2020, Chinese scientists published a study in the journal Future Microbiology showing that for some recovering COVID-19 patients, anal swab samples still tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 after they had tested negative using throat swabs.5

Dr. Tongzeng said:

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.6

Dr. Francis Chan, dean of Chinese University of Hong Kong’s faculty of medicine and director of its Centre for Gut Microbiota Research said that, although more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of anal swabs, stool testing has been “grossly underutilized” in the coronavirus pandemic. He added that the virus was still actively replicating in the feces of at least half of the study participants after it had cleared from their lungs.7

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention published instructions saying that a stool sample should be taken from patients but, if that is not possible, an anal swab should be administered by inserting a cotton-tipped stick three to five centimeters (one to two inches) into the rectum.8

Not All Scientists on Board with Anal Swabbing

While some Chinese scientists believe that an anal swab or fecal sample could be useful for identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus in mild or asymptomatic cases, there is no consensus regarding the effectiveness of the new testing method in the Chinese medical community.9

Dr. Zhanqiu Yang, a pathologist at Wuhan University said that nose and throat swabs are the most efficient ways to gather test samples for SARS-CoV-2. He stated, “There have been cases concerning the coronavirus testing positive in a patient’s excrement, but no evidence has suggested it had been transmitted through one’s digestive system,”10

Chinese Citizens Outraged: A Step Too Far

Although there is no nationwide testing policy for the use of anal swabs to test for COVID-19, reportedly some Chinese citizens were subjected to the new testing method with no prior warning.11 The new protocol has resulted in public outrage, with Chinese citizens expressing outrage that it is a step too far in the government’s intrusive public health measures.12

In a Weibo poll, the Chinese social media platform, 80 percent of respondents said that they would not accept the invasive testing method.13 One user on Weibo said, “Everyone involved will be so embarrassed,”14 Some doctors say that it is an inconvenient way to test for COVID-19 and should be used only for select groups, such as people housed in quarantine centers.15

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has taken extreme measures to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections by locking down entire cities and provinces and quarantining new arrivals to the country for lengthy periods of time. There are also reports of forced testing without the consent of the people suspected of being infected.16


Click here to view References:

1 Bloomberg News. China’s Zero-Tolerance Covid Tactics Now Include Anal Swabs. Jan. 27, 2021.
2 Feng J. COVID Anal Swabs for Beijing Residents More Accurate, Says Chinese Expert. Newsweek Jan. 26, 2021.
3 Ibid.
4 Feng J. COVID Anal Swabs for Beijing Residents More Accurate, Says Chinese Expert. Newsweek Jan. 26, 2021.
5 Sun M. et al. Anal swab as a potentially optimal specimen for SARS-CoV-2 detection to evaluate hospital discharge of COVID-19 patients. Future Microbiology 2020; 12(15).
6 Feng J. COVID Anal Swabs for Beijing Residents More Accurate, Says Chinese Expert. Newsweek Jan. 26, 2021.
7 Bloomberg News. China’s Zero-Tolerance Covid Tactics Now Include Anal Swabs. Jan. 27, 2021.
8 Dou E. China rolls out anal swab coronavirus test, saying it’s more accurate than throat method. The Washington Post Jan. 27, 2021.
9 Feng J. COVID Anal Swabs for Beijing Residents More Accurate, Says Chinese Expert. Newsweek Jan. 26, 2021.
10 Hart R. Anal Swab Covid Test Won’t Make You Waddle Like A ‘Penguin,’ China Says. Forbes Feb. 1, 2021.
11 Bloomberg News. China’s Zero-Tolerance Covid Tactics Now Include Anal Swabs. Jan. 27, 2021.
12 Business Today. China rolls out anal swab tests for coronavirus. Jan. 28, 2021.
13 Ibid.
14 Dou E. China rolls out anal swab coronavirus test, saying it’s more accurate than throat method. The Washington Post Jan. 27, 2021.
15 Bloomberg News. China’s Zero-Tolerance Covid Tactics Now Include Anal Swabs. Jan. 27, 2021.
16 Hart R. Anal Swab Covid Test Won’t Make You Waddle Like A ‘Penguin,’ China Says. Forbes Feb. 1, 2021.

6 Responses to "Anal Swabs Used to Test for SARS-CoV-2 Virus in China"

  1. Elizabeth Schneider   February 15, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    They can take this anal swab test and shove it.

    Reply
  2. JENNYM   February 15, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    I thought this was funny: “the effectiveness of anal swabs, stool testing has been “grossly underutilized” Grossly is the key word!!

    No wonder the evil ones don’t want the facts about 5G causing the ‘epidemic’ to get out. They want to degrade humanity. I can’t imagine what’s next, well I can, actually.

    Reply
  3. Jim   February 15, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    “No wonder the evil ones don’t want the facts about 5G causing the ‘epidemic’ to get out. They want to degrade humanity.”

    … just …. wow …. nobody moderates this site?

    Reply
    • joshua mauch   February 18, 2021 at 11:19 am

      Be a grown up and ignore statements you disagree with. We have freedoms to say what we want. Your mommy cannot give you earmuffs forever. Combat what you think is wrong with truth.

      Reply
      • JENNYM   February 23, 2021 at 6:07 pm

        Thanks, Joshua! I loved your retort!

        Reply
  4. Joe F.   February 25, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    Yes, so they’re testing for a respiratory disease in the anus?

    Maybe someone should draw an illustration and show them where the lungs are.

    Reply

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