The Spanish government received thosuands of EU-certified coronavirus tests from a Chinese company, but tests of the first batch of 9,000 reveal that they do not work.
Spain bought the devices in hopes of rolling out mass testing of its population. After being tested by several microbiology facilities in the country, the Chinese tests were found to only have an accuracy rate of 30 per cent, where they should have been closer to 80 per cent. The tests have been returned to the manufacturer.
An anonymous source involved in the evaluation told El País on Thursday: “They do not detect the positive cases as expected.”
“With that value, it does not make sense to use these tests,” the anonymous source said.
The Spanish health ministry said: “The first tests on the rapid testing kits were carried out simultaneously by a hospital in Madrid and by the Carlos III Health Institute, and as soon as their low sensitivity was discovered, they were withdrawn. The supplier has been contacted and replacement tests will be provided.”
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The Guardian reports that the products, made by the Shenzen Bioeasy Biotechnology Company Limited in Guandong province, held EU certification — which meant that they should have conformed to European standards. The ministry’s statement added: “Spain follows EU regulation, which means that if a product is certified to conform to European standards, it can be bought and sold throughout the union area.”
The Chinese embassy in Madrid, however, claimed that the Spanish government had bought the tests from an unlicensed company, according to euractiv, and that Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology was not on a list of recommended suppliers.
Yahoo News reports that coronavirus tests bought by the Czech government are also reportedly displaying a low success rate.
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With the situation worsening in Spain, budget minister Maria Jesus Montero told Telecinco television in comments reported by Reuters: “We are in a real war to get hold of ventilators, face masks, and quick test kits. All the countries are fighting to secure domestic production, fighting to get supplies from China.”
Spain has already on order €432 million ($471.4 million/£386.3 million) worth of medical supplies from China, with Chinese companies being accused of profiteering off of the devastation caused by the Chinese virus.
A diplomatic source in Spain told Reuters that costs had gone up ten-fold in some cases, with Chinese companies demanding payment up-front.
Chinese coronavirus fatalities in Spain now exceed the official death toll of Chinai tself, with Thursday seeing the country’s highest fatality rate: 769 deaths in 24 hours.
This brings bringing total coronavirus deaths to 4,858. There are 64,059 confirmed infections.
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