A study shows that traces of the virus in fecal samples could remain detectable longer and provide more accurate test results.
Some Chinese cities are using anus samples to detect potential COVID-19 infections as China steps up testing to ensure no potential carriers of the new coronavirus are missed before the Lunar New Year holiday next month, when tens of millions of people are typically returning home to their families.
China has battled new pockets of the disease that have emerged in the north and northeast with strict lockdowns and mass testing in a bid to eradicate the outbreaks.
Justifying the decision to take anal swabs, an official in Weinan City, northern Shaanxi Province, said a 52-year-old man with symptoms, including a cough, initially tested negative for the condition. COVID-19. It was then tested via an anal swab.
The man, who was confined to a centralized medical observation facility as a close contact with another COVID-19 patient earlier this month, was later confirmed to be a carrier of the virus, the official said during a press conference.
Anal swabs require inserting a three to five centimeter (1.2 to two inch) cotton swab into the anus and gently rotating it.
In a video uploaded by the state newspaper Global Times, Zhang Wenhong from Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, said such swabs could be helpful in helping to minimize the risk of relapse after recovery.
“There may be traces of the coronavirus detected in the faeces of the abdominal cavity and the intestine,” Zhang said in the report.
Last week, a Beijing city official said anal swabs were taken from more than 1,000 teachers, staff and students at a city primary school after an infection was discovered there. Nose and throat swabs and serum samples were also taken for testing.
Additional tests using anal swabs may detect infections that other tests miss, as traces of virus in fecal samples or anal swabs might remain detectable longer than in samples taken from the upper respiratory tract, Dr Li Tongzeng , a respiratory and infectious disease specialist in Beijing City, said on public television last week.
Li added that these samples were necessarily only from key groups such as those in quarantine.
‘Weak evil, extreme humiliation’
Stool tests may be more effective than breath tests in identifying COVID-19 infections in children and infants because they carry a higher viral load in their stool than adults, University researchers have found. Hong Kong Chinese (CUHK) in an article published last year. .
Users of Weibo in China, its Twitter-like social media platform, responded to the method with a mixture of glee and horror.
“I was very lucky to return to China earlier,” wrote one user.
“Weak evil, but extreme humiliation,” said another, using a laughing emoticon.
Others who had undergone the procedure rang with black humor.
“I did two anal swabs, every time I did one I had to do a throat swab afterwards – I was so afraid the nurse would forget to use a new swab,” one joked. Weibo user.