China Introduces Anal Swab Tests For Detecting Coronavirus

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Recently, Global Times, which is a Chinese media network, has reported that the country has started the distribution of new anal swab tests for diagnosing the coronavirus in order to control the new wave of the infection. In comparison with the conventional nasal or ora swab tests, the anal swab is said to be much more accurate.

According to Chinese experts, this is because the virus can stay in the anus and feces of a person for a longer period of time. On the contrary, it is only present in the nasal passage or the throat for a period of three to five days. So, with tests based on oral or nasal swabs, there is a higher risk of a false positive.

Although limited evidence does indicate that this new method of testing may help people who are in self-isolation or have greater chances of a severe form of coronavirus infection, a number of experts have also voiced their opinion against the practice.

For instance, Dr. Sanjaya Senanayake, who is an infectious diseases expert at the Australian National University commented on anal swabs during his interview with ABC news and questioned the benefits of introducing the method.

Along with experts, the local population has also expressed their concerns regarding the tests with some of them describing their experience as ‘shameful’. However, China is most likely to continue using anal swabs for detection of infection as the country is having the biggest outbreak of the virus since controlling its spread in Wuhan.

Read also: How to Stop Stress Eating During the Pandemic 

After two new cases of the UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 were diagnosed in Bejing, a plan to conduct over two million testings for the coronavirus was announced. The mass-testing is expected to detect new cases in time and keep the virus from spreading.

In addition, health organizations in China are also advising the local population to not make any travel plans for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations as many of the new cases have come from people returning to the country after vacation.

At the moment, it is not only China that is struggling with controlling new outbreaks of coronavirus infection. Globally, a number of countries are experiencing an increased number of infections especially due to the celebrations during the holiday season of the past year.

The United Kingdom is one of the worst-hit countries with the new wave of infections which is why it has also re-imposed a lockdown as strict as the one introduced in the spring of 2020 during the early days of the pandemic.

Even though an increase in travel and celebrations have led to new outbreaks in nearly all countries, there is still hope for the pandemic to end by the end of summer of this year. Not only have multiple countries created coronavirus vaccine distribution programs but have already started rounds of vaccinations.

Secondly, even though new cases of the virus are diagnosed every day, the global daily average has been noted to be decreasing. These positive changes indicate that the crisis can indeed be controlled with testing, coronavirus control policies, and vaccines.

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Abeera I. Kazmi

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