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CDC lab contamination reportedly delayed coronavirus test rollout

The Dept. of Health and Human Services is investigating the protocol breakdown

Published: April 18, 2020 5:39pm

Updated: April 18, 2020 7:57pm

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who were working to roll out a critical coronavirus detection test were delayed in doing so due to a reported contamination in an on-site laboratory, a mistake that is now being investigated by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. 

The Food and Drug Administration this week said that scientists with the CDC had failed to adhere to containment standards while developing the test, exposing the kits to contamination and setting the rollout of the test back as much as a month. The organization "made its test in one of its laboratories, rather than in its manufacturing facilities," against its own protocol, the FDA said. 

The revelation comes at a time when politicians and administration critics have accused the federal government of falling seriously behind in the number of tests it should be conducting. The U.S. has performed the highest total number of coronavirus tests in the world, though by population numbers it has lagged behind countries such as Belgium, Spain and Germany. 

The CDC on Friday acknowledged that its quality control procedures "were not sufficient" when scientists were developing the tests and said that it was ramping up those standards moving forward. 

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