Belgium bought one million ‘unreliable’ Covid-19 test kits
Share article:
Share article:

Belgium bought one million ‘unreliable’ Covid-19 test kits

Credit: Belga

Earlier this year, the federal government in Belgium bought one million serological test kits for Covid-19 – tests which turn out to be unreliable, according to a study carried out in Denmark.

The tests were ordered by the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP), with director-general Hugues Malonne claiming “a sensitivity and specificity of 100%” – a claim even the manufacturers themselves did not make.

The agency ordered one million test kits from the Italian manufacturer DiaSorin, at a cost of €7 million, which were then delivered unsolicited to laboratories. Serological tests are mainly used to determine which medical personnel have sufficient antibodies to be able to be deployed safely to Covid-19 facilities.

Now a comparative study by Danish researchers has revealed that the DiaSorin test is unreliable. The study tries the tests on 150 samples of Covid-19 infected blood, as well as a control group of 586 samples of uninfected blood.

The DiaSorin test managed to identify the presence of Covid-19 in 97.2% of samples – considerably lower than the 99% minimum demanded. And it was the only one of the 15 tests to fail the specificity test.

On the question of sensitivity – whether the test can identify the presence of antibodies in a given sample – the result of 84.6% success was described as “disappointing”.

Philippe De Backer (Open VLD), the government minister charged with procuring materials needed for the Covid-19 epidemic, said “two correctly conducted validation studies confirm the performance of the DiaSorin test”.

The intention in April, he said, had been to secure tests of sufficient quality for the Belgian market to avoid future shortages, and not to select the best test.

In addition, in the difficult circumstances and with limited supply, a large number of tests had to be purchased quickly, he said.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...