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Spain sends back China's coronavirus testing kits after they fail to work

ANI | Updated: Mar 27, 2020 12:59 IST

Madrid [Spain], Mar 27 (ANI): Spanish health authorities have warned that the rapid coronavirus tests that the country purchased from China are faulty. They are not consistently detecting positive cases, thereby showing an accuracy level below 30 per cent, making them unusable.
In view of the incredibly high error rate of the kits, Spain-- one of the worst hit by Covid-19, with deaths surpassing over 4,000-- has announced that it is sending back the first batch of Covid-19 testing kits that it received from China.
The Chinese Embassy in Spain was quick to respond, explaining that the batch of faulty kits was not part of the 423-million Euro deal that the two countries recently signed, which includes 5.5 million testing kits. The Embassy said, the kits had come from an unlicensed provider.
"They do not detect the positive cases as expected," a source working at a Spanish microbiology lab told El Pais, a Madrid-based Spanish daily.
One of the microbiologists who has analysed the Chinese test assured, "With that value it does not make sense to use these tests."
The experts who have evaluated these detection kits are of the view that they will have to continue using the current test, the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) that detects the RNA of the virus in an exudate sample nasopharyngeal (a stick is inserted through the nose or through the mouth to collect it).

The PCR method is a laborious technique, which requires specific equipment (the reactions take place in machines called thermocyclists in real time) and up to four hours until the result is obtained
The Carlos III Health Institute, under the Spanish Ministry of Health, has already been reported regarding the problem.
That company, Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology, was not on the list of certified providers that China offered to Spain and has not even been licensed to sell its products by the Chinese National Medical Products Administration, the embassy said.
Spain had ordered 340,000 kits from the company.
In a similar case, the Czech Republic has also found nearly 80 per cent Chinese test kits to deliver false results.
Beijing had designed these types of test kits to deliver quicker results but they have proven to less accurate than other ways of testing.
Czech health ministry reportedly paid about USD 568,000 for 100,000 of the kits while the country's interior ministry paid for the rest. (ANI)