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Washington forced to recall 12,000 coronavirus test kits for contamination

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

The state’s coronavirus testing efforts encountered a hiccup recently, after possible contamination forced University of Washington labs to stop using test kits from a supplier in China.

UW Virology ‘far under capacity’ with coronavirus testing

When it became clear the U.S. didn’t have enough test kits, UW Medicine spent $125,000 to purchase kits from Lingen Precision Medical Products in China. The state has now recalled 12,000 of those kits after it found issues with the fluid that preserves specimens for transport.

“Though the quality control issue has only been observed in a small number of tubes of viral transport media, we adhere to the highest quality standards for COVID-19 testing in Washington state,” WA Secretary of Health John Wiesman said in a news release. “We are working with our partners to have them discard the product and will work to replace them as quickly as we can.”

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The University of Washington doesn’t believe that anyone that was checked with testing kits from this supplier will have to be re-tested, or that any contaminated kits were used. The contamination in the vials was easy to spot, with the color having changed from hot pink to cloudy.

The state continues to try and get as many testing kits as it can, but supplies remain limited.

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