April 9 – Coronavirus test kit producers in China are urging Western media not to smear and discredit made-in-China products after some recent complaints, reported Global Times.
Though local medical authorities and Chinese embassies have explained the misunderstanding and misuse of the test kits, media coverage has turned a blind eye to these clarifications, said the official media outlet.
“I think the quality issue reported by some media has been politicized. They can’t prove the reported testing kits have quality issues, because the use and transport [of the kits] may influence their stability and sensitivity,” an employee at test kit provider Beijing Beier Bioengineering told the Global Times.
Medical workers unfamiliar with the products may have some difficulties handling the test kits, and this could affect the accuracy of their results.
The Beier employee added that Chinese medical staff also had issues when using the test kits in the early stages of the outbreak. But the confusion was resolved after technical training.
Following complaints on the quality of Chinese medical products, the Chinese government now requires all medical products to obtain a certificate from the country’s medical authority before they can be exported, the Chinese National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) announced last week.
“From Wednesday, or even days before, many products and materials can no longer be exported and are currently delayed at ports,” Li Hui, general manager at Shanghai Huirui Biotechnology Co, which exports testing kits, told the Global Times last Wednesday.
“The tightened regulations will no doubt worsen a global shortage of test kits supplies and may even push up prices,” Li said, adding that the cost of some test kits has already surged more than threefold due to shortages.
Due to its strong production power and mature supply chain, China is one of the biggest providers of coronavirus test kits, according to Global Times.
Unlike masks and ventilators, which can be produced by auto makers that have adjusted production lines, test kits require a production space with a high level of cleanliness, and scientific and precise experiments and testing.
Companies approached by the Global Times said that while production of other medical products still rely on raw materials from foreign countries, the raw materials used to make test kits are “all made in China,” thus their production pace will not be affected by the pandemic.
Shenzhen-based BGI Genomics has sufficient reserves of these raw materials to ensure continuous production, and all of them are made in China, BGI said in a statement sent to the Global Times.
The firm increased its daily production from 600,000 to 2 million units within 10 days in March to serve the surging global demand.
“We are doing our best to share the anti-epidemic experience we’ve accumulated in China with the world,” the firm said.
The company said it has thus far provided test kits to 70 countries and regions around the world, including the US, where it has become the first Chinese company to gain emergency approval to sell its fluorescent real-time polymerase chain reaction testing product.