Chinese officials reassured members of the public Monday that newly introduced anal swab coronavirus tests will not make them waddle like penguins after a video purportedly showing people struggling to walk after using them went viral online.
Authorities said a video of people waddling out of a hospital, which reportedly was viewed millions of times before being taken down, does not show people who have been subjected to the anal swab test.
The video, set to a laugh track, is doctored and fake, officials said, though an explanation on what the video does show was not offered.
The new tests, which involve inserting a cotton-tipped swab about 1-2 inches into the rectum and which Chinese authorities say can detect the virus more accurately than oral and nasal methods, are only used in high-risk cases owing to the less-than-convenient method of testing.
The test does not cause any discomfort, the officials said, and has only been used on hospitalized Covid-19 patients with diarrhea.
Not all experts agree with the use of anal swabs to test for a respiratory illness. Yang Zhanqiu, a pathology expert at Wuhan University, told China’s Global Times that nose and throat swabs are the most efficient ways to gather test samples for 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,” Yang said.
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