TEL AVIV—The Israeli Ministry of Health has ordered hospital laboratories and Magen David Adom (the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross) to immediately stop using approximately 10,000 contaminated swab test kits from China. The COVID-19 tests were in-use and may have already been used to test thousands of Israelis.
The problem surfaced after lab experts noticed that the color inside the test tube was not what they expected to see, and as a result, it was impossible to tell if the tests were coming back positive or negative.
A source inside the Ministry of Health sent the Israeli edition of The Epoch Times photographs of the defective swabs. They were made in China by Guangzhou Bang Shuo Biotechnology Company. The company produces a wide variety of testing equipment.
Inside the test tubes is a pH indicator called phenol red, said another source inside the ministry. He explained that the indicator changes color in an acidic environment.
“For clarity, when milk gets sour it is because of bacteria. The same thing happens in the substance inside the test tube when it is contaminated and then the indicator shows that,” he said.
The source said with these kits, the substance inside changes color from pink to orange. “This is a probable sign of contamination,” he said.
From what he’s seeing, he believes the company’s entire production assembly line was likely contaminated.
“Something like this is not supposed to happen if you work within proper working conditions and according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). What bothers me even more, is that contaminated kits may indeed affect the test results.”
This is because bacteria affecting the pH would ruin the sample, causing it to appear negative even if the person is positive.
He said the plant must not be following basic quality assurance protocols because if they were, it would be hard for this to happen.
“They had to spot this. We are talking about a basic procedure: Taking a sample from every lot of test kits, keep it in an incubator, and check it for change of pH and cloudiness.
“People think that the Israeli standard is the same as the Chinese standard, but it is not,” he said.
Growing Reports of Faulty Supplies From China
Israel is not alone. Many countries have been reporting quality issues with test kits from China, as well as masks and other medical supplies.
The University of Washington School of Medicine also discovered that tens of thousands of test kits from China, costing $125,000, were probably contaminated in the same way too, according to an April 21 article in the South China Morning Post.
The test kits were ordered from another Chinese manufacturer called Lingen Precision Medical Products and were found to be contaminated.
Spain and the Czech Republic found their rapid tests imported from China also gave false results 70-80 percent of the time.
The UK said it would seek refunds for millions of virus antibody test kits ordered from China after a study found they returned inaccurate results.
Canadian health officials recalled around 1 million KN95 respirator masks from China intended for frontline workers that didn’t meet federal quality standards. The Netherlands likewise recalled 600,000 KN95 masks for failing to protect the face or having defective filters.
Health officials in Turkey raised similar issues after they checked and found out that Chinese test kits were not made according to any standard.
A Chinese broker who facilitates the export of masks from China told Chinese tech news outlet Tech World that 60 percent of factories don’t have sterile work environments.
His accounts included descriptions of dust-filled factories and workers handling masks with bare hands and not wearing protective masks themselves.