COVID-19 tests sent to empty laboratory

Suspicion of fraud arose in Sepsiszentgyögy (Sfântu Gheorghe) during the mandatory coronavirus testing of vulnerable groups. Samples containing nobody’s genetic material were sent for laboratory testing, meaning that the coronavirus testing swabs were not put into anybody’s nose or mouth.

The bi-weekly coronavirus testing of residents and workers at elderly and children’s homes in Romania is mandatory. After one such testing, 60 samples arrived from a private nursing home to the Pro Vitam laboratory in Sepsiszentgyörgy. A researcher at the Pro Vitam diagnostic center, Szilárd Fejér, told szekelyhon.ro that they check the amount of human genetic material in each sample during the PCR test, and this is how they found out that the swabs sent to the lab actually did not contain any.

“Essentially, the testing swabs were sent to us empty, meaning that they were not put into anybody’s nose or throat.

We do not know if this was negligence or if they were expecting that if there is

no sample, there cannot then be any positive

test results.”

– the researcher explained. He pointed out that in either case, it qualifies as fraud; therefore, they reported the case to the authorities.

“There are few things that infuriate me more than when incompetent people

try to fool me and an extremely

vulnerable group of people might suffer because of the lack of proper testing.”

– wrote Fejér on his Facebook post.

“This unpleasant interlude affirmed to us that the quality control of samples is essential if the laboratory cannot oversee the whole process, from the taking of the sample until its arrival to the laboratory. Proper sample-taking, and their transportation are at least as important as proper laboratory testing of the samples. And this applies not only to the COVID-19 test, but to every kind of laboratory test in general,” detailed the researcher.

Following the notification, the police have already investigated the laboratory but have not yet informed the press about their findings. According to Fejér, the case most probably will be closed by ordering the tests to be repeated.


Title image is an illustration: Nasal swab for the COVID-19 test (Photo: Jean-Francois Badias/AP)

Author: Attila Szoó