The Chinese government deployed a new type of coronavirus test, which it says is more accurate, but only reserved for high-risk cases. It is a quite invasive, as the new test is actually an anal swab.

Forbes reported that China's state-run TV channel (CCTV) revealed that the Asian country has started rolling out anal swab tests for those whom it considered to belong to the "high-risk" group. State doctors said that the test is considerably more accurate in detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2.

Li Tongzeng, Respiratory and Infectious Diseases Department deputy director at Beijing You'an Hospital, narrated to CCTV that the anal swab tests "can increase the detection rate of infected people." He explained that virus traces linger longer in the anus compared to the respiratory tract.

Not all experts in the said country agree with this premise though because Yang Zhanqiu, Wuhan University's pathology expert, told Global Times that the throat and nose swabs are still the most efficient kinds of test to detect COVID-19.

"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," said Yang.

While it has already been deployed, Forbes said that there does not seem to be a "coordinated" policy on the administration of the test that was meant for "high-risk" cases.

France24 reported that travelers entering Beijing had to undergo the anal swab test. Users of Weibo, a social media platform that is very popular in China, also reacted to the invasive method.

"So lucky I returned to China earlier," said one Weibo user. Another described it as, "low harm, but extreme humiliation." Another user, who had undergone the test jokingly stated "scared the nurse would forget to use a new swab."

The test involves a cotton-tipped swab, which is inserted about one to two inches in the rectum. The swabs will be tested for the coronavirus.

Anal Swab Test
Anal swab test rolled out in China. Photo: Pixabay

Aside from travelers entering Beijing, there were also other groups who claimed to have undergone the same test. There were residents of quarantine facilities who also had to go through the test.

While China has controlled the coronavirus cases, the number of cases has started rising again. The government is doing everything to ensure that the virus is curbed and is speeding up on its vaccination efforts ahead of the Lunar New Year where people are expected to do lots of traveling.