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Maryland media raises questions about reliability of Korean COVID-19 test kits

Maryland media raises questions about reliability of Korean COVID-19 test kits

Posted September. 23, 2020 07:59,   

Updated September. 23, 2020 07:59


There is controversy surrounding the accuracy of COVID-19 test kits Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan purchased from South Korea several months ago. Gov. Hogan said there is no problem with the test kits after a local media raised questions about their reliability.

The controversy began on Friday when the Baltimore Sun raised questions about the reliability of the South Korean COVID-19 test kits. The newspaper reported that the University of Maryland lab is no longer using the COVID-19 test kits from South Korea as they returned a spate of false positive results. “A handful of nursing homes in Maryland had received dozens of false positive tests,” said the newspaper adding that one facility received more than 30 positives when the majority of people had no symptoms. The newspaper concluded that the university stopped using the test kits manufactured by South Korean biomedical firm LabGenomics due to reliability problems.

As the controversy grew, the University of Maryland issued a statement, providing a reason for the switch. “We have been planning for some time to move to the CDC PCR platform that can accommodate simultaneous testing for SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza A and B virus because we are entering the flu season. The LabGenomics PCT test does not accommodate this capability by its design.” It confirmed that there is no problem with the reliability of LabGenomics’ test kits. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement, saying over 200,000 LabGenomics tests have been used in two labs without any problems in the last 60 days and they will continue to be used by the state health department and labs.

LabGenomics also said in a statement that the reports were erroneous as they were based on results from tests the University of Maryland lab conducted to see if the COVID-19 kits could detect influenza viruses, adding it had been confirmed by Maryland authorities.

Earlier in April, Gov. Hogan made headlines for purchasing 500,000 COVID-19 test kits from LabGenomics. He is called “the son-in-law of South Korea” as he is married to Korean-American wife Yumi Hogan.

Bo-Mi Im bom@donga.com