Anal swabs for testing COVID-19 will not be done on American diplomats anymore in China, the US State Department said.
On February 24, a spokesperson of the US State Department was quoted as saying that they had never agreed to this kind of testing and immediately brought the matter to the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The spokesperson further added that Beijing had assured Washington that the test was given “in error” and that diplomatic personnel were exempt from the test.
"We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past," said the spokesperson.
However, on February 25, VICE reported that China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian denied that Beijing had asked US diplomats in China to undergo anal swab tests.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Some Chinese regions have been ordering anal swabs for people under quarantine, including those who arrived from abroad. Authorities say the tests can avoid missing infections. But it acknowledged that rectal swabs are not suitable for mass use because they are inconvenient and unpopular.Follow our live coverage of COVID-19