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Country Is Using Anal Swabs for Coronavirus Detection

Some doctors in China say it will help avoid missed diagnoses
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2021 7:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Coronavirus testing is getting even more uncomfortable. At least that’s the case in China, where health authorities have begun using anal swabs to test for the virus, Gizmodo reports. According to a report by Chinese state media’s Global Times, “Studies have shown that the coronavirus survives longer in the anus or excrement than those taken from upper body tracts.” Not everyone agrees with the new testing method, the Washington Post notes, reporting that the move to use anal swabs instead of nasal or throat swabs has prompted “widespread discussion and some outrage.” A poll on Chinese social media platform Weibo found that 80% of respondents “could not accept” the method.

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“Everyone involved will be so embarrassed,” one Weibo user said. Still, Li Tongzeng of Beijing’s You’an Hospital told state broadcaster CCTV that “Applying extra anal swabs can improve the detection rate of infection and reduce missed diagnosis” and they are only being used for people in virus hotspots under quarantine, Australia’s ABC reports. Not all doctors in China are on board, with one telling Global Times: “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.” (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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