China is increasingly using rectal Covid-19 screenings to test at-risk individuals as well as travelers arriving from abroad. A measure that does not please everyone.
If you've been given a Covid test, you know how unpleasant it is to get scratched with a long cotton swab. In France, as in most countries around the world, coronavirus screening tests are carried out by smear in the nose or throat. But this is not the only option: in China, we are increasingly resorting to … rectal screening. A method "which is controversial because it repels more than one", indicates AFP, taken up by Le Dauphiné, this January 27, 2021.
According to public television CCTV, residents of several neighborhoods in Beijing have already been subjected to rectal swabs. The measure is also imposed on people placed in compulsory quarantine in hotels, in particular, travelers from abroad. But why this a priori curious test?
Is the anal test more effective than the nasal test?
According to Li Tongzeng, a doctor at You’an Hospital in Beijing, interviewed by Chinese television, rectal screening "helps increase the detection rate of infected people." As AFP points out, the coronavirus indeed remains present longer in the anus than in the respiratory tract. A study published in August 2020 in the journal Future of medicine corroborates this claim. AFP notes that according to CCTV, rectal tests are not intended to be generalized because they are "not practical enough", unlike conventional PCR tests. We are reassured.