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Leaking vials supplied for NHS test and trace, say whistleblowers

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Leaking vials and suspected contamination were identified in a batch of more than 500,000 test tubes produced for the NHS Covid test and trace operation over the summer, whistleblowers have said.

The test tubes were provided by a small UK-based company, Life Science Group (LSG), which produces materials for the diagnostics industry.

According to the whistleblowers, there have been repeated problems with test tubes filled by LSG leaking. Stocks of some 600,000 test tubes were inspected in August as a result, and records seen by the Guardian describe the discovery of what looked like hair and blood contamination.

It is understood firms in the supply chain concluded that the contamination was not hair or blood, following inspections. However, records seen by the Guardian suggested at least one bag of LSG test tubes thought to be contaminated “cannot now be found”.

The whistleblowers said that rather than rejecting the entire potentially compromised batch, as would be normal safety protocol with NHS supplies, only part of the batch with visible problems was removed from use. They said they had blown the whistle because they were concerned for public safety.

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Source: The Guardian, 16 October 2020

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