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Saturday 30th May 2020

Coronavirus testing kits headed to UK reportedly contaminated with deadly bug

Ordered from overseas

Authorities are reportedly facing a setback in the fight against coronavirus after testing kits being sent to the UK were contaminated with the bug.

The Telegraph reported that components ordered from overseas were contaminated with the flu-like COVID-19 before reaching the UK.

The publication claimed that Luxembourg-based supplier Eurofins warned government laboratories in the UK that it affected a delivery of testing parts called 'probes and primers'.

Credit: Rich /

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The company is said to have insisted "proper cleaning" can resolve the issue but acknowledged it would delay tests getting to the UK.

Contaminated parts

The Telegraph quoted a Eurofins spokesperson who said: "In rare occasions, delays in some orders may occur if based on Eurofins Genomics stringent quality and environmental control procedures, manufacturing of a product may not meet the quality or purity criteria set by Eurofins Genomics.

"We are aware that contaminations of the nature you mentioned have been observed by several primers and probes manufacturers around the world after they produced SARS-COV2 positive controls.

Public Health England's Sharon Peacock said the UK has ordered "several million" tests (Credit: Public Health England / YouTube)

"Those initial problems can be easily resolved by proper cleaning and production segregation procedures."

ED! contacted Eurofins for comment.

Last week, it was reported that home testing kits for coronavirus were expected to be available in the UK in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months.

Millions of tests ordered

Health officials revealed they had ordered millions of kits and planned to distribute them "within days".

Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, said: "Several million tests have been purchased for use. These are brand new products. We have to be clear they work as they are claimed to do.

Easily resolved by proper cleaning and production segregation.

"Once they have been tested this week and the bulk of tests arrive, they will be distributed into the community."

TV's Dr Hilary Jones has explained the importance of tests in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Hilary Jones has been keeping people updated on the coronavirus pandemic on GMB (Credit: ITV)

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Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the GP discussed the two main types of test for COVID-19.

Dr Hilary explained that antigen tests look at whether or not a patient currently has the virus. The other, an antibody test, reveals whether or not somebody has previously had - and recovered from - COVID-19.

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