CHINA on Sunday denied donating defective COVID-19 test kits that the Department of Health (DoH) found to be only 40% accurate.
The kits it donated to the Philippines were at par with those provided by the World Health Organization, the Chinese Embassy said in a statement, citing DoH.
The defective test kits cited by DoH had not been tested by the Philippines’ Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and were different from those given by the Chinese government, it said.
The virus has sickened more than 1,418 people in the Philippines, killing at least 71. Before March, there were only three confirmed cases in the Philippines — all Chinese nationals — and health authorities have traced the recent increase to faster testing by local laboratories.
Worldwide, about 665,000 people have been infected, with almost 31,000 deaths.
China’s donation included 2,000 RT-PCR test kits — which use the so-called reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction technique — from BGI and 100,000 similar kits from Sansure Biotech, Inc. China has also committed to send medical experts to help the Philippines fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“The Chinese Embassy firmly rejects any irresponsible remarks and any attempts to undermine our cooperation in this regard,” it said.
In a social media post, the embassy also cited a message from Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque to Ambassador Huang Xilian attesting to the effectiveness of the donated kits.
“There is nothing wrong with the real time-polymerase chain reaction machine, which is used for generating positive or negative result as the case may be,” the agency quoted Mr. Duque as saying.
“Again, your test kits from BGI and Sansure Biotechnology are very good and up to the standards as those which were donated by WHO and approved by our RITM.”
Meanwhile, the Singapore government has donated 40,000 COVID-19 test kits and two ventilators, on top of the 3,000 test kits and PCR machine it gave the Philippines earlier. — Charmaine A. Tadalan