Moscow reportedly bought tons of not very-accurate Chinese-made coronavirus tests
Moscow authorities purchased hundreds of thousands of test kits for coronavirus antibodies from the Netherlands at the end of April. However, these rapid tests are actually made in China, and are not very accurate, reveals a new report from the investigative outlet IStories.
According to Russia’s federal healthcare watchdog, Rosdravnadzor, the tests (sold under the brand name Biozek) were purchased from a company registered in the Netherlands: Iznek International Trading. However, journalists from the Organized Crime and Corruption Report Project (OCCRP) found that the tests are actually manufactured by a Chinese company in Hangzhou. Changing the legal entity and the company selling the tests was an apparent attempt to create a more positive image.
When confronted with evidence, Inzek representatives told journalists that the tests were in fact made in China. The phrase “made in the Netherlands” was later removed from the product’s description on the company’s website. According to OCCRP, buying and relabeling these tests is legal in the European Union.
While the Chinese manufacturer, Hangzhou Alltest, claims that these antibody tests are between 92.9 and 98.6 percent accurate, studies conducted in Spain, Denmark, and the UK show that the tests’ accuracy does not meet diagnostic standards. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also discouraged the use of such “express tests” for diagnosing COVID-19.
Moscow announced the purchase of the Dutch test kits at the end of April. According to Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova, this test “showed very good results.” These express tests were used on 175,000 people in Moscow in the last week of April alone.