UK Spent $20 Million on Dud Chinese Coronavirus Test Kits
UNITED KINGDOM — The U.K government is scrambling for a refund after gambling on $20 million worth of Chinese-made coronavirus testing kits that did not work.
According to the New York Times, the two Chinese companies were offering a risky proposition: two million home test kits said to detect coronavirus antibodies for at least $20 million, take it or leave it.
The asking price was high, the technology was unproven and the money had to be paid upfront; furthermore, the buyer would be required to pick up the crate loads of test kits from a facility in China.
Despite the risk, Downing Street, desperate to get a handle on the forever climbing case numbers in the U.K, gambled and handed over the cash to both 'AllTest Biotech' and 'Wondfo Biotech', the two Chinese companies in question; both of which claim that their products met the health, safety and environmental standards set by the European Union.
Whilst public health officials reviewed the specifications on paper, diplomats were dispatched in China to ensure the companies existed and to examine their products first-hand.
The gamble backfired as the tests, said to detect antibodies for coronavirus, did not work, according to a senior civil servant.
Finding antibody tests that work is seen as a critical stage in the battle against coronavirus.
After officials complained about the dud tests, both Chinese companies instead blamed British officials and politicians for misunderstanding or exaggerating the utility of the tests.
Wondfo told Global Times that its product was intended only as a supplement for patients who had already tested positive for the virus.
The U.K's amateur hour exposes how vulnerable and how desperate they are to win the war on the coronavirus, as all nations are.
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