Spain sends back faulty Covid-19 test kits from China

They were from an unlicensed company, according to the Chinese embassy in Spain.

Julia Yeo | March 27, 2020, 01:16 PM

The Spanish government said on Thursday (Mar. 26) that it was sending back the first batch of Covid-19 test kits that it received from China, as they were unreliable.

Test kits with less than 30 per cent accuracy

Spain, with over 56,000 Covid-19 cases and 4,100 deaths, has sought to roll out rapid testing efforts, purchasing 640,000 testing kits from companies in China and South Korea.

However, the efforts hit a snag after roughly 9,000 test kits from the first batch purchased from China turned out to be faulty.

The Spanish association of microbiologists (SEIMC) warned that the nose swabs developed by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology had an accuracy rate of less than 30 per cent, according to La Prensa Latina, a Hispanic news site.

SEIMC spokeswoman María del Mar Tomás said:

“With this level of accuracy it is impossible to put them into routine use.”

Spanish daily El País reported that the Madrid city government had decided to stop using the Bioeasy kits and the Spanish health ministry had requested for the Shenzhen company to replace supplies.

Test kits were from unlicensed company

The Chinese embassy in Spain said the company which the Spanish government had purchased the items was an unlicensed company.

Later, the Spanish health ministry released a statement, saying that the test kits were procured from a supplier in Spain, which had imported them from China.

The ministry said that the products bore the CE mark, meaning they conformed with European Union standards.

The statement added the order was not part of the 432-million euro (S$682m) contract with China that the Spanish government announced on Wednesday (Mar. 25).

The deal includes the delivery of 5.5 million testing kits to Spain, from China.

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