China disowns defective coronavirus test kits in PH

Rambo Talabong
China disowns defective coronavirus test kits in PH

Malacañang photo

(UPDATED) This comes after the Department of Health (DOH) said that test kits from China were only 40% accurate

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – China, through its embassy in the Philippines, denied being the source of the defective test kits that the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) discarded.

“The test kits mentioned by the DOH official on 28 March 2020 during the press briefing were neither tested by RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) which did not receive any kit sample for lab validation nor donated by the Chinese government,” the Chinese embassy said in a statement on Sunday, March 29.

The embassy claimed that the test kits used by the DOH were not “assessed” by the RITM.

However, it is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), not RITM, that is in charge of approving test kits. 

The DOH issued a clarification hours later on Sunday, saying that they mistook a “proposed donation” from a private foundation as test kits from China.

Why this matters: Accurate test kits are more valuable than ever as the Philippines plays catch up in testing more people possibly infected by the virus.

Why this matters: Accurate test kits are more valuable than ever as the Philippines plays catch up in testing more people possibly infected by the virus.

Earlier, there were news reports that said Spain also withdrew 58,000 test kits from China because these had only 30% detection rate.

Because of a lack of test kits, the Philippine government has only been testing persons under investigation showing severe symptoms of the coronavirus disease, or high-risk and immuno-compromised individuals showing mild to severe symptoms of the disease.

The criteria has raised fears of untested and asymptomatic virus inadvertently spreading the virus in their communities – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.