Fake COVID-19 test kits seized in Kenya and the US, sold for Sh3,000 in Nairobi

Photo: Customs and Border Protection/Twitter

Kenyans have been warned not to fall prey to unscrupulous firm purporting to sell coronavirus test kits.

On Monday, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council raided a high-end clinic on Nairobi’s Hurlingham suburbs and confiscated its purported stock of coronavirus test kits.

Avane cosmetics dermatology clinic and medical spa were making a killing out of unsuspecting customers before word got to the council. In one of its posters online, the clinic alleged it was selling COVID-19 rapid test kits adding they come in handy in “early diagnosis, awareness, and medical attention if infected.”

Further, the “rapid test kit” going for Sh3,000 would give results within 15 minutes, the poster read. Customers were given only one mode of payment for the kit which was strictly via mobile Money.

“We are already at the facility and they will not stock the kits anymore,” Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council CEO Daniel Yumbya told the media.

The Kenya Association of Clinical Pathologists also confirmed that the kits were counterfeit.

The process is referred to as “real-time RT-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) detection) Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT).

In the US, Customs and Border Protection officers at Los Angeles International Airport’s mail facility nabbed what officials believed were counterfeit test kits for COVID-19. According to the report by the CBP on Saturday, the material had arrived from the United Kingdom.

“The CBP officers discovered six plastic bags containing various vials last Thursday while examining a parcel marked “Purified Water Vials” with a declared value of $196.81, the statement said. “A complete examination of the shipment led to the finding of vials filled with a white liquid and labeled ‘Corona Virus 2019nconv (COVID-19)’ and ‘Virus1 Test Kit,'” the CBP added. The shipment was turned over to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for analysis,” reported the Customs and Border Protection.

Test to ascertain if or not a person has COVID-19, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) opines that it is done in a specialized lab on a respiratory specimen.

In Kenya, three cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, fourteen are in quarantine awaiting results while three more were in isolation waiting to be tested at the time of this article going to the press. All the tests are being carried out at the National Influenza Centre.

To help fight the pandemic, Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma pledged to donate over 1 million testing kits to Africa.