China Using Anal Swabs for COVID-19

By: Elizabeth Elizade

And you thought the nasal test was uncomfortable …

China is using anal swabs to test its residents for COVID-19 amid a new wave of the outbreak — and local experts say the method is a more accurate way to detect the bug, according to a report.

The derriere detection method is being used more frequently in Beijing after a 9-year-old boy tested positive for the highly contagious UK variant of the virus last month, Newsweek reported.

But anal swabs have been used there since last year, reserved for individuals living in COVID-19 hot spots such as Shanghai. Nasal and throat swabs remain the most popular methods because of their convenience and speed, according to the outlet.

“Of course, anal swabs aren’t as convenient as throat swabs, so they’re only being used on individuals in key quarantine areas,” said Li Tongzeng of Beijing You’an Hospital, according to Newsweek. “This will reduce the return of false positives.”

The swabs are inserted 3 to 5 centimeters (1.2 to 2 inches) inside the rectum, according to the outlet.

Tongzeng said the method can increase the rate of detectability and lower the chances of missing a diagnosis.

“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,” Tongzeng told the outlet.