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China deploys Anal swab tests to detect high-risk Covid-19 cases

AFP News Agency

Beijing, Jan 27: China has begun using anal swabs to test those it considers at high risk of contracting Covid-19, state TV reported, with social media users and travellers squirming over the invasive procedure which doctors say can be more effective in detecting the virus.

Officials took anal swabs from residents of neighbourhoods with confirmed Covid-19 cases in Beijing last week, broadcaster CCTV said, while those in designated quarantine facilities have also undergone the test.

Small, localized outbreaks in recent weeks have seen multiple cities in northern China sealed off from the rest of the country and prompted mass testing campaigns — which up until now have mostly been conducted using throat and nose swabs.

But the anal swabs method “can increase the detection rate of infected people” as traces of the virus linger longer in the anus than in the respiratory tract, Li Tongzeng, a senior doctor from Beijing’s You’an Hospital, told CCTV.

Users of China’s popular Twitter-like Weibo social media platform reacted to the method with a mix of mirth and horror.


“So lucky I returned to China earlier,” one user wrote.

“Low harm, but extreme humiliation,” another said, using a laughing emoticon.

Others who had undergone the procedure chimed in with dark humour.

“I’ve done two anal swabs, every time I did one I had to do a throat swab afterwards — I was so scared the nurse would forget to use a new swab,” one Weibo user joked.

CCTV said on Sunday anal swabs would not be used as widely as other methods, as the technique was “not convenient.”

As cases rise around the world, China has imposed stricter requirements on international arrivals in an effort to keep domestic transmission close to zero.

All arrivals into the country must have multiple negative test results and quarantine for at least 14 days in a designated hotel on arrival, with many cities and regions imposing additional home observation requirements.

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From headache to soar throat: New common symptoms of Delta variant of COVID-19

(Asian News Hub) – The Delta variant of the COVID-19 infection could be behind the change in symptoms as more people are reporting cold-like symptoms in the UK.

Headaches, a sore throat and a runny nose are the most common symptoms of this variant, according to the data collected as part of the app-based Zoe Covid symptom study.

The study is being led by Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London.

“Covid is … acting differently now, it’s more like a bad cold,” he said. “People might think they’ve just got some sort of seasonal cold, and they still go out to parties … we think this is fuelling a lot of the problem.

So, what’s really important to realise is that since the start of May, we’ve been looking at the top symptoms in all the app users, and they’re not the same as they were. So, the number one symptom is headache … followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever.”

The ZOE project which began at the start of the pandemic has been tracking people’s symptoms throughout and experts believe the virus is ‘acting differently now’.

The NHS still lists the three tell-tale signs of the virus as a fever, new continuous cough and loss of taste and smell.

With Delta, a cough appears to be the fifth most common symptom, and the loss of smell doesn’t make the top 10, according to Spector’s study.

The study also believes that now the majority of the UK’s older residents are vaccinated, and younger people are the ones infected that are more likely to only suffer a mild illness.

Spector said the Delta variant is now ‘more like a cold’ in younger people. “I think the message here is that if you’re young and getting milder symptoms any way, it might just feel like a bad cold or some funny feeling … do stay at home and do get a test,” Spector said.

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COVID19: Single dose of vaccine sufficient for those already infected; Study

(Asian News Hub) – A study by Hyderabad’s AIG Hospitals has claimed that a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine is sufficient for those already infected by the disease before.

The hospital said it conducted a study on 260 healthcare workers who got vaccinated between January 16 and February 5 to assess the immunological memory response in all those patients. All patients were given the Oxford-Serum vaccine Covishield.

Two significant observations came out of the study, which has been published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, a peer-reviewed journal.

The previously infected group (people who got infected with COVID-19) showed a greater antibody response to a single dose of vaccine compared with those who had no prior infection.

It also revealed that Memory T-cell responses elicited by a single dose of vaccine were significantly higher in the previously infected group compared with those who had no prior infection.

It was concluded that higher memory T and B-cell responses in addition to higher antibody response with a single dose of vaccine given at 3-6 months after recovery from COVID-19 may be considered at par with two doses of vaccine for individuals already infected with COVID-19.

“The results show that people who got infected with COVID-19 need not take two doses of vaccine yet with a single dose can develop robust antibody and memory cell response at par with two-doses for those who didn’t get the infection.

This will significantly help at a time when there’s a shortage of vaccine in the country and more people can be covered using the saved doses,” said Dr. D Nageshwar Reddy, Chairman, AIG Hospitals, and one of the co-authors in the study.

“Once we attain the requisite number of people vaccinated for achieving herd immunity, these patients who got infected and received only one dose can take the second dose of the vaccine.

At this point, all our strategies should be directed at the widespread distribution of available vaccines and to include the maximum number of people at least with a single dose,” he added.

During the second Covid wave when cases were growing exponentially; the vaccination rate took a downturn. As of April 27, when the growth rate of active infection was 5%, the growth of vaccinated people was just 1.4 per cent.

“We need to modify vaccination strategy based on scientific evidence and with the objective that a larger set of the population can be covered in the shortest duration,” he said.

WITH IANS INPUTS

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New Coronavirus found in bats in china, Scientists worried

(Asian News Hub) – In a shocking revelation, Chinese researchers claim to have found a batch of new coronaviruses in bats. They even say that the newly found viruses in the bats include one that may be the second-closest yet (genetically) to the COVID-19 virus, reports CNN.

According to the researchers, their discoveries in a single, small region of Yunnan province, southwestern China show just how many coronaviruses there are in bats and how many have the potential to spread to people.

In a report published in the journal Cell, the Chinese researchers from Shandong University said, “In total, we assembled 24 novel coronavirus genomes from different bat species, including four SARS-CoV-2 like coronaviruses.”

One was very similar, genetically to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that’s the cause of the current COVID-19 pandemic, they said.

It would be the closest strain to SARS-CoV-2 except for genetic differences on the spike protein, the knob-like structure that the virus uses when attaching to cells, they said.

Researchers are trying to find where SARS-CoV-2 came from. Although a bat is a likely source, it’s possible the virus infected an intermediary animal. The SARS virus that caused an outbreak in 2002-2004 was tracked to an animal called a civet cat.

Three of the samples described in Thursday’s report were also close to SARS genetically.

This discovery of new coronaviruses in bats comes at a time when scientists and countries across the world are calling for further investigations to figure out whether the virus originated naturally or leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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