Spain is seeking a refund for a second batch of faulty coronavirus tests purchased from a Chinese company that was supposed to replace a previous order of defective testing kits, health officials said this week.
The order of 640,000 antigen coronavirus tests was canceled after health officials found that the kits, like the ones purchased last month, were not sensitive enough to detect the virus, Spain’s Health Ministry told El País. Officials said the tests were bought via a Spanish distributor from Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology, a company that China recently admitted is not licensed to make them.
While ministry officials confirmed that the process for a refund has begun, they have yet to make public the price of the order, the Madrid-based newspaper reported.
Health care workers assist a COVID-19 patient at one of the intensive care units (ICU) of the Clinic hospital in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Ricardo Garcia Vilanova)
The new testing kits were supposed to replace about 58,000 “quick tests” that Spain purchased last month, the paper reported, and were quickly deemed substandard specifically due to only identifying the virus 30 percent of the time, when it should be higher than 80 percent.
Bioeasy suggested replacing that order with the antigen tests, according to the paper, and included the machines required to process the results for free over the mishap.
At the time of receiving the first faulty batch of tests, Spain was battling the worst of the health crisis and bought $467 million in medical supplies from China, including 950 ventilators, 5.5 million testing kits, 11 million gloves and more than half a billion protective face masks.
Spain now has at least 213,024 coronavirus cases, the second most in the world behind the U.S., and 22,157 deaths, the third most in the world behind the U.S. and Italy. Spain has not been testing widely and the real contagion is believed to be higher.
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China announced an investigation into Bioeasy last month following the accusations of faulty coronavirus kits being sold at marked-up prices.
Many other countries have learned that the much-needed medical supplies made in China are substandard in quality.
The Netherlands was forced to recall 600,000 faulty masks late last month, while The New York Times reported last week that the U.K. bought millions of coronavirus tests from two different Chinese companies, AllTest Biotech and Wondfo Biotech, which proved deficient.
Turkey, Georgia and India are among other countries raising questions over the quality of the supplies made in China.