China Conducts Anal Swab Mass Testing for Covid-19

Residents of Beijing and some hotspot regions like Shanghai will undergo rectal swab testing, as China detects 2 cases of the new Coronavirus variant. Although nasal and throats swabs are still widely used due to its speed and convenience, some experts find anal swabs to be more accurate since the virus survives longer in the digestive tract. However, some health specialists are not in favor of this as Covid-19 is acquired through the respiratory tract.

Screenshot from New York Post

New York Post:  Anal swabs have been used in Shanghai since last year

Screenshot from New York Post

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 New York Post.

Anal swabs have been used there since last year, reserved for individuals living in COVID-19 hotspots such as Shanghai.

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

Li Tongzeng of Beijing You’an Hospital said that the method can increase the rate of detectability and lowers the chances of missing a diagnosis. In some infected patients, the coronavirus survives for a longer period of time in their digestive tract or excrement than in their respiratory tract.

Screenshot from

Beijing You’an Hospital’s Li Tongzeng said that anal swabs are the most accurate because the coronavirus survives longer in the digestive tract or in excrement, Newsweek reported.

Health guidelines in China require the swabs to be placed 1.2 to 2 inches inside the rectum, rotated, and then removed.

This isn’t the first time that experts have recommended anal swabs as possibly being more accurate. In August 2020, for example, Future Medicine reported that anal swabs likely provided the “optimal specimen” for SARS-CoV-2 detection when determining if a patient should be discharged from a hospital.