At least 3,700 people in Sweden received false-positive COVID-19 tests — from faulty testing kit that came from China.
The kit from BGI Genomics could not distinguish between very low levels of the virus and a negative result, Reuters reported.
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“The supplier must adjust the performance that is required for this test to be used,” Karin Tegmark Wisell, the head of its microbiology department, said.
The test kit has been widely exported to other countries, she added, but could not give further details. BGI Genomics, two of whose subsidiaries are on a U.S. economic blacklist of companies implicated in human rights violations regarding China’s treatment of Uighurs, could not immediately be reached for comment.
It received emergency use authorization from U.S. authorities for its coronavirus testing kits in March and got an Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization in May. The Swedish labs that evaluate the tests have adjusted their methodology. The agency could not say how many tests had been done using the kit but only a minority of cases appeared to be involved, when the virus is at very low levels.
Sweden was one of the few European nations that did not order lockdowns. To date, there have been 86,891 confirmed infections and 5,814 deaths from the virus, according Reuters. “Of note,,” the news agency wrote, “deaths, infections and ICU admissions have been falling in recent weeks as the government explores easing their already-lax coronavirus restrictions, such as large public gatherings over 50 people and sporting events.”