Health officials in Washington state issued a recall for 12,000 coronavirus test kits. They discovered the kits might be contaminated.
The health department of Washington–the state hit first by the virus–announced the recall on Monday. The University of Washington Medicine brought the issue to the health department’s attention after noticing that the fluid in the vials was a strange color.
The viral transport media (VTM) is what preserves the collected specimen long enough to be tested.
“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,” Secretary of Health John Wiesman said in a statement. “We are working with our partners to have them discard the product and will work to replace them as quickly as we can.”
No Threat to Patients
Thankfully, the possible contamination is not a threat to patients or healthcare workers. The VTM does not come in contact with either the patient or the tester during collection. However, out of an abundance of caution, the health department has decided to recall both the tubes filled with VTM and the nasal collection swabs. The kits had previously been distributed throughout the state.
Testing kids are wrapped in plastic-backed paper and contain a vial with a small amount of VTM as well as a long nasal swab. The media is usually a clear salmon color.
Unfortunately, the state does not currently have enough tests on hand to replace the recalled kits. The department of health expects to get a new shipment of kits next week, but in the meantime, healthcare workers may not be able to administer COVID-19 tests.
More States Recall KN95 Masks
This isn’t the first recall related to coronavirus safety. Multiple states have now recalled KN95 masks ordered from China. That includes $17 million worth of personal protection equipment ordered by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.
Missouri recalled 48,000 KN95 masks last week when they were found to be sub-standard. The masks had been distributed to first responders, including law enforcement and firefighters. Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandra Karsten says that the state is working hard to expedite the delivery of new masks that meet safety standards.
In addition, the Netherlands has recalled 600,000 masks purchased from China. The Dutch government ordered the masks for hospital personnel, but the personal protective equipment was later found to have defective filters.