Shanghai firm affiliate carries out checks after COVID-19 test accuracy questioned

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Shanghai Runda Medical Technology said on Wednesday it has ordered its COVID-19 testing affiliate to carry out checks after Shanghai residents whose samples were processed by the lab questioned the accuracy of results.

Residents in the Chinese economic hub have over the past six weeks had to undergo multiple rounds of self-testing via antigen kits, as well as PCR tests, during the city’s lockdown as China tries to curb COVID-19 transmission.

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Local media reported on Tuesday that a number of residents had been ordered to move to quarantine sites after the Shanghai Runda-linked laboratory conducting nucleic acid tests returned positive results on their samples, only to test negative for the virus following additional tests by other labs.

Shanghai Runda, which holds a 48.4 percent stake in the laboratory’s owner, a medical testing company, said in a filing it has directed the lab to self-investigate the issue and to comply with probes by authorities.

Doubts over the accuracy of results from the Runda-linked lab have added to frustration over the Shanghai government’s testing campaigns.

Some residents have expressed anger in social media over badly managed testing at their communities, citing issues such as confusion over testing results or long waiting times.

Each new case has multiple consequences. A COVID-positive person and their close contacts must go to quarantine centers, many of which have been criticized as crowded and unsanitary. Neighbors in the building of a COVID-positive person must isolate for 14 days, with the clock resetting every time a new case is found.

One user on the Twitter-like platform Weibo said she was in a quarantine center after a positive result returned by Shanghai Runda’s affiliate. She had since tested negative and now feared contracting the virus at the center, she said. Reuters was not able to independently verify her post.

“I really don’t know what we can do after eating and sleeping in the same place with infections for five days,” the woman said.

Reuters was unable to reach the laboratory directly for comment.

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