China Sends US “Contaminated” COVID Test-Kits

It’s bad enough that China has frozen exports of medical equipment to the US during the pandemic. Now a new report sheds light on some COVID-19 test kits from the country that were sent “contaminated.”

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) said the University of Washington School of Medicine (UW Medicine) “went to extraordinary lengths to airlift tens of thousands of Covid-19 testing kits” during the start of the US outbreak to only discover last week that some of the tests are tainted.

“I’ve just recommended everyone who has these things pause and not use them at all,” said Geoff Baird, the interim chair of the UW Department of Laboratory Medicine, who led the group to secure the tests. “I can’t say I’m not disappointed.”

Baird told SCMP that a colleague informed him on April 16 that some of the “liquid in vials he had sent appeared to have changed in color.” In shock, he said he stormed out of his office down to the UW Medicine storage facility where the test kits were being held and started to “tear through boxes.” 

He said many of the vials looked “fine,” but a “small percentage of them had turned to an orange or yellow color, rather than hot pink,” which indicated bacterial growth and, ultimately, contamination.

Baird also had scientists add novel coronavirus to the contaminated vials and compared to uncontaminated liquid.

The conclusions, he said: “There’s absolutely no difference.”

After that, Baird immediately suspended future orders with the Chinese manufacturer.

Anita Nadelson, the Seattle businesswoman who helped the university secure the tests, said the Chinese firm would refund their money.

“They’re working diligently to identify and cure the issue,” Nadelson said. “We vetted these as best we could. It’s an unexpected turn on both sides.”

Baird said the contamination is concentrated in the specimen-preserving liquid, which makes no contact with patients, adding that “we don’t expect there’s any real mechanism of harm to patients.”

A scientist runs a clinical test at UW Virology's lab. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
A scientist runs a clinical test at UW Virology’s lab. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

He said S. maltophilia was the bacterium found in the contaminated vials:

“It lives on surfaces and it lives on factory things and tubing,” he said. “I would think it’s in your home, my home, it’s on everything.” 

Baird said the university gave 20,000 test kits to Public Health–Seattle & King County and another 15,000 to the state.

“I don’t know how many they’ve distributed yet,” he said.

On Sunday, the state recalled 12,000 kits it handed out to counties.

“We are working with our partners to have them discard the product and will work to replace them as quickly as we can,” said John Wiesman, the state secretary of health, in a statement.

“About 5,000 of the 20,000 they gave us had been distributed by us, and approximately 300 had been used,” said James Apa, a Public Health–Seattle & King County spokesman, adding that “the problem with the kit itself shouldn’t present any health risk to patients.”

Baird said while the contaminated test kits are a setback – there appears to be a national shortage of kits.

“We should be doing more, but we’ve not seen our volume go up,” Baird said of testing at the UW Medicine facility. “There’s a cap on the amount of testing that can be done globally, and certainly nationally, there aren’t enough kits for swabs and VTM (viral transport media) for testing.” 

Defective tests from China were not limited to the US. We noted earlier this month Spain received 640,000 tests that were later considered useless.

While China attempts to restore its image as a global leader and focus on distributing humanitarian relief to countries in need, the latest snafu of contaminated or defective COVID-19 testing kits is a public relations disaster.

via zerohedge


  1. Why is the US still doing business with China, as the saying goes fool me once shame on you, but to be swindled again is being Dumb, why not get the testing kits made here in the US as well as the necessary masks and ppe that the hospitals, first responders need, it’s way past time that this country start with bringing back more manufacturing of these critical items, and ventilators back home

  2. Not surprised they sent us contaminated test kits, but I am surprised that we would want to receive them! China has been a source of inferior products for years. We need to bring our manufacturers home! We should never allow a communist country to produce our medicines, food, toys, clothing …etc…! They have sent us cancer causing ingredients in medicines, Melamine in pet food and infant formula, lead paint in children’s toys as well as asbestos in crayons, anti-freeze in toothpaste need I say more? Wake Up, America! China is not our friend! When I say this, it is not referring to Chinese American or Chinese people in general, but it is talking about the Communist Government of China, lest I be labeled a racist by the Left!


  3. Right. But, don’t think about bitchin all over social media when you’re paying double or triple for the shit you need.

  4. This would have never happened Trump’s fault of this because of blocking and charging them billions of dollars on trades come on think about it if we’re not careful we’ll be going to war with China and we don’t need that that’s one place we do not need war with

    1. Give it a break. Trump did not cause this virus. It started in China and because of their lame procedures and secrecy, they let this virus sprad and ignored all the other countries who were asking them questions When they didn’t ignore, they lied. By saying that it was a result of trade practices, you are saying that China did this on purpose. Thats an Act of War against the world. I believe your assumptions will get them so mad and we will be at war. You can blame that on your stated opinions, not Trump’s.

  5. China is trying to kill us. They are putting crap they are sending us. Did you know they own Smithfield, our biggest pork company. The U.S. needs to look at what China is doing. They are buying out America.
    It is time to boycott China on everything. Time to bring back American products to America. We cannot trust China for anything. They too are an evil country. Not the Chinese people but the Government.

  6. Multiple Lawsuits against the Communist Party and their cohorts are to be filed continually even if they fail. We must send this Communist Regime that we are breaking trust with them in all aspects as they continue. Our trade agreements and other business deals with be broken with them and future deals will be withdrawn as we begin to isolate them from our lives. They need to be held accountable for everything wrong they did.

  7. that is the last straw, this is and ACT OF WAR, and all chinese in the usa under a visa or passport, OUT of here. Some of them might be spreaders and spies, calling home.

  8. we got no one to blame but ourselves. greedy cooperate america. close our factories here and open them up in foreign countries to save the american consumer money. we need to bring back everything to be self sufficient. we have so many problems with our inner cities. the problem is there is nothing for our inner city residents to do. bring back our menial jobs. build the factories in the city for these people can work

  9. Its bad enough that they are still using China to get these items. Whats worse is the apologists here in America who say it was an accident. Ot was no accident. It was intentional. Whats it for them to kill 20 million of its citizens

  10. In the past, I have always tried to buy American without being radical or obsessive about it. Now all of that has changed. I now take the time to check the labels and if the product is made in china it goes back on the shelf.
    Both of our cars are American made and are serving us very well. My previous Town car went over 255,000 miles with no problems and got 26 -27 MPG on the highway. Our present cars have over 80,000 and 155,000 miles with no problems. We are very happy with both of them. The tow Japanese made pickups that I owned previously didn’t even come close to that (92,000 & 116,000 miles)

  11. Katie,
    You are so right. We need to bring manufacturing back to the USA. President Trump has been talking about this very thing. He said, he changed our economy once and he will do it again! I believe him. He is a very smart business man. Trump 2020!!! MAKE AMERICA GREAT, AGAIN!!!!


  12. We are under deliberate attack by the Chinese Communist Party! They have been attacking US for decades. There should be no surprise about that. It is what we should expect from them. They are out for world domination! It is time to drop the pollyanna attitude and fight back @

  13. Why are we getting any test kits , medical supplies etc…. from China ???? The virus was bioengineered in their lab !!! This is insane, Stop doing business with these people they don’t like us and they can’t be trusted !!!!

  14. Is this article for real? America needs to get back to doing for America and stop relying on foreign entities for our health and well being! It is not in China’s interest to have The United States a global leader or a country great enough to police World humanity!

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