Contaminated COVID-19 testing kits 'made in China' sold in US

The University of Washington has stopped using them. The liquid in many vials changed colour or became cloudy. The Shanghai manufacturer will refund US$ 125,000. Defective and inaccurate testing kits were also sold in Spain, Czechia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Defective masks sold to the Netherlands.

Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A certain percentage of vials bought in China and used for COVID-19 testing were found to be contaminated.

Following the discovery, the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine stopped using them even though they do not appear to be do dangerous.

The emergency caused by the pandemic in the United States had prompted UW to buy hundreds of thousands of testing kits worth US$ 125,000 through a Seattle importer who was able to secure supplies from a Shanghai factory.

Days ago, the liquid in some vials changed colour, orange or yellow instead of hot pink, an indication of bacterial growth. Some appeared cloudy too.

Laboratory tests confirmed that a bacterium called Stenotrophomonas maltophilia was growing in the samples.

The university had already delivered 20,000 testing kits to Public Health-Seattle and King County and another 15,000 to the state’s public health labs.

After the discovery, the use of the kits was stopped. The Chinese supplier has pledged to refund the investment.

In recent weeks, due to the emergency and the limited availability of supplies, countries like Spain, Czechia, Malaysia, and the Philippines turned to Chinese testing kits, but ended up refusing them because they were defective with only a 40 per cent accuracy.

Testing kits were not the only problem. For example, the Netherlands had to pull a batch of 600,000 defective masks imported from China.