Anal Swabbing The Latest in Testing for COVID-19

Here is a recent headline from the Global Times, the daily tabloid paper which operates under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper:

Here are some quotes from the article with my bolds:

"Beijing reported a 9-year-old boy tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and his school conducted a variety of tests including serum antibody tests, nasal, throat, and even anal swabs for all its staff and students, prompting many to wonder if anal swabs could be more accurate in detecting the virus than other measures.

Li Tongzeng, a deputy director in charge of infectious disease at Beijing You'an Hospital, said that studies have shown that the coronavirus survives longer in the anus or excrement than those taken from upper body tracts, and for some silent carriers the virus may be present in their throats for 3 to 5 days, allowing some tests to provide false negative results. 

Taking an anal swab could increase accuracy in key groups, Li noted during an interview with the China Central Television. However, given that the method is not as convenient as throat swabs, it will only be applied to key groups at quarantine centers."

The article does go on to note that this testing method has proven to be controversial among some experts, largely because the virus has been proven to be contracted through the upper respiratory tract rather than the digestive system, meaning that the most efficient tests are using nasal and throat swabs….at least for now.

Five days later on January 28, 2021, the Global Times did add a cautionary note in this article:

Here are some quotes from the latest article on anal swabbing for COVID-19:

"News of the use of anal swabs for COVID-19 testing has startled Chinese netizens. The method is more accurate than nose and throat swabs, albeit awkward for recipients. Yet the Global Times learned that anal swabs are not feasible for mass testing and the method is only used in certain Chinese cities, such as Beijing and Qingdao, among certain high-risk groups, such as overseas arrivals. 

"You take off your pants, lie on the bed, and then you feel the cotton swabs inserted into your anus twice and turned a few times, which takes about 10 seconds each time," was how one person who took the test described the "awkward" experience to the Beijing News.

But the method has only been used on a few key groups.

Shanghai used anal swab testing as one of the standards for releasing COVID-19 patients from the hospital in early 2020, but later dropped the requirement, Lu Hongzhou, co-director of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Thursday….

Scientists have also found that the clearance of coronavirus in nose and throat swabs is faster than anal swabs, which means that for silent carriers and people whose respiratory symptoms have disappeared, anal swabs will be more suitable. 

Anal swabs aren't feasible in massive testing, but Lu supported expanding anal swab testing to all international arrivals and high-risk groups under medical observation to guarantee the testing accuracy."

Given that governments are rarely inhabited by original thinkers and the fact that the developed world followed China's lead when it came to locking down its citizens, don't be surprised if anal swabbing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus comes to a testing centre near you.  Better get used to the idea of dropping your pants and being violated by a cotton swab all in the name of protecting humanity.

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