Care homes have been ordered to destroy a batch of faulty COVID-19 test kits after it was discovered that the swabs could break off while being used to gather samples from residents’ tonsils and noses.
Care home managers were told on Sunday not to use the tests because they had “brittle stems at risk of snapping”. The kits were manufactured by Citotest, a company based in China, and were distributed by the government’s COVID-19 care home testing programme. It is tasked with providing tests for all staff and residents in care settings, not just people displaying symptoms.
The affected batch should be destroyed or kept in a safe area clearly marked with warnings not to use them, officials said, adding that the problem emerged on Saturday and they were working as quickly as possible to resolve it.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the batch could have contained tens of thousands of tests and that a complaint had been raised with the manufacturer, with whom discussions were ongoing.
“We are aware of an issue with one batch of swab sticks which are being replaced where needed but this does not affect any tests, or the results of tests, previously taken,” a DHSC spokesperson said. “Testing is unaffected and people should still arrive for their booked tests.”
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Source: The Guardian, 15 June 2020