A video said to have been filmed in Shijiazhuang, China, showed people walking with a waddle as they left a hospital, presumably after having received a new anal swab test for COVID-19. The Shijiazhuang Internet Report Centre said the video was fake, and it’s since been taken down, but not before millions of people viewed it.1
While the image of people waddling like penguins after an anal swab might be an exaggeration, what’s not fake is the anal swab test for COVID-19. Released in Beijing, the test is said to be a more accurate method for detecting the virus.
According to Forbes, Li Tongzeng, deputy director of the respiratory and infectious diseases department at Beijing You An Hospital, cited research that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, survives longer in the anus and feces than in the respiratory tract. Due to this, an anal swab may be able to more accurately detect mild or asymptomatic cases than a nose or throat test.2
While the tests are said to be only for “high-risk cases,” they’ve reportedly been given to unsuspecting individuals, including travelers arriving in Beijing, those in quarantine centers and even 1,000 children and teachers who were exposed to the virus.3
80% Surveyed Were Against the Invasive Testing Method
In a poll on Chinese social media site Weibo, 80% who responded said they “could not accept” anal swab testing for COVID-19.4 While the test can be performed from a stool sample submitted by the patient, if that’s not possible the test involves inserting a cotton-tipped swab one to two inches into the rectum.
“If we add anal swab testing, it can raise our rate of identifying infected patients,” Tongzeng was reported as saying on state-run news channel CCTV. “But of course, considering that collecting anal swabs is not as convenient as throat swabs, at the moment only key groups such as those in quarantine receive both.”5
One Chinese study published in Future Medicine in August 2020 reported that, in some patients, anal swabs tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 while the virus was not detected in throat swabs or sputum swabs. They concluded, “Anal swabs might be the optimal specimen for SARS-CoV-2 detection to evaluate the hospital discharge of COVID-19 patients,”6 although the study was limited in that it involved only four patients.
Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, suggested that SARS-CoV-2 may be shed through the gastrointestinal tract via feces. They analyzed literature to determine if the virus may persist in stool even after a negative nasopharyngeal test.7 In a review of 12 studies, they found 107 cases in which a positive rectal, anal or stool SARS-CoV-2 test was positive after a nasopharyngeal test was negative.8
“Therefore,” they noted, “there is some evidence of the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in the body secretion in convalescing COVID-19 patients. It is noteworthy that a significant proportion of these patients are within the pediatric age group.”9
In a BMJ rapid response article, Dr. Arturo Tozzi, a pediatrician with the University of North Texas, suggested fecal excretion of SARS-CoV-2 may persist for one to 11 days after excretion in sputum in 23% to 82% of adults. He suggested rectal swabs could be used to test patients with COVID-19 symptoms or known COVID-19 exposure who test negative via throat or sputum tests. He further stated:10
“Indeed, the available data suggest that some patients test positive on rectal swabs in the very first days of COVID-19 onset (Lescure et al., 2020).11
To make a few examples, in a review article, Tian et al. (2020)12 reported fecal PCR positivity 2?5 days after sputum in in 36%?53% of patients, while Xiao et al (2020)13 found that 39/73 hospitalized patients had viral RNA in their feces from 1 to 12 days. Therefore, the occurrence of oro-fecal route points towards the usefulness of rectal swabs at the very onset of the disease to confirm, or even diagnose, COVID-19.”
EU Plans to ‘Follow the Science’ for Anal COVID-19 Testing
Time will tell whether anal swabs become more popular for COVID-19 testing in China and around the world. For now, it’s still generating snickers among European Commission spokespeople, but when asked by a journalist whether anal swabs could be implemented for EU-wide COVID testing, a spokesperson said they would “follow the science.”14
European Commission spokesperson for health, food safety and transport Stefan De Keersmaecker said, “We will go where the science takes us. So, if science takes us to the butt, we will consider this. But of course I don’t think I can add a lot on this … We indeed rely heavily … on the input from scientists, and so we leave it to the scientific world to see what are the best approaches.”15
There are critics of the anal testing, as well. Forbes reported that Yang Zhanqiu, a pathology expert from Wuhan University, told China’s Global Times that nose and throat swabs were most efficient, adding, “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.”16
Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, also raised concerns about the nature of the test, telling Health that not only is it unknown whether anal swabs are useful for detecting contagious cases but, “I also worry that such messages may discourage people from getting tested. For most purposes, including screening asymptomatic individuals, nasal or saliva samples are sufficient.”17
Submitting stool samples would be one way of getting around the unpleasantness of the test, as stool samples are already collected for a variety of other medical tests, according to Joanne Santini, professor of microbiology at University College London. She told Insider that anal swabs are “the obvious thing to do.” According to Insider:18
“Santini explained that the virus attaches to the human body using a receptor called ACE2, and there are many ACE2 receptors in the gut. The viral load — the amount of virus shedded — can also be higher in the feces, especially if someone is suffering with gastrointestinal problems caused by coronavirus. And viral shedding can last for longer in the feces than in sputum.
‘Even though a common way of being infected is through respiration, I think there must be some infection happening through the gut via the mouth,’ she said. ‘There is evidence that SARS-CoV-2 in feces is infectious, just like other viruses, such as norovirus and other coronaviruses.'”
Rampant Problems With PCR Tests
It remains to be seen whether anal COVID-19 tests will catch on, but as it stands positive reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for COVID-19 are plagued with problems. The PCR test is not designed to be used as a diagnostic tool as it cannot distinguish between inactive (noninfectious) viruses and “live” or reproductive ones.19
Inactive and reproductive viruses are not interchangeable in terms of infectivity. If you have a nonreproductive virus in your body, you will not get sick from it and you cannot spread it to others. Further, many if not most, laboratories amplify the RNA collected far too many times, which results in healthy people testing “positive” and being ordered to take off work and self-isolate for two weeks.
The higher the cycle threshold (CT) — i.e., the number of amplification cycles used to detect RNA particles — the greater the chance of a false positive. While any CT over 35 is deemed scientifically unjustifiable,20,21 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend running PCR tests at a CT of 40.22
A test known as the Corman-Drosten paper and tests recommended by the World Health Organization are set to 45 cycles.23,24,25 When labs use these excessive cycle thresholds, you clearly end up with a grossly overestimated number of positive tests, so what we’re really dealing with is a “casedemic”26,27 — an epidemic of false positives.
The WHO updated its testing guidance January 20, 2021, to admit that that a positive PCR test alone does not equal infection, and that the “PCR threshold (CT) needed to detect virus is inversely proportional to the patient’s viral load.” Therefore, in cases where the patient’s symptoms do not correspond to the result of the test, i.e., they’re asymptomatic but test positive, they should be retested using the same or different test.
They also noted that the PCR test should only be used as an “aid” in diagnosis and not be relied upon by itself. Diagnosis must also include the observation of clinical symptoms. So, to get a diagnosis of COVID-19, you now need two positive tests if symptoms are absent, and a doctor’s judgment-call on whether symptoms appear consistent with a diagnosis of COVID-19.
However, it’s uncertain how many labs will adopt this advice to make their tests more accurate. The critique against PCR testing is further strengthened by a November 20, 2020, study in Nature Communications,28 which found no viable virus in PCR-positive cases. The study evaluated data from 9,865,404 residents of Wuhan, China, who had undergone PCR testing between May 14 and June 1, 2020.
A total of 300 tested positive but had no symptoms. Of the 34,424 people with a history of COVID-19, 107 tested positive a second time. Yet, when they did virus cultures on these 407 individuals who had tested positive (either for the first or second time), no live virus was found in any of them.
It’s unknown whether an anal swab may prove to be any different, but it’s unlikely that most people will willingly submit to an anal swab over a nasal or throat test. Further, many are now questioning whether the faulty PCR test was rolled out on purpose in an effort to crash the global economy and provide cover for the implementation of what’s known as the Great Reset.
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