Hong Kong authorities find false BGI nucleic acid test result may be due to human error
Published: Feb 19, 2021 09:37 PM

Members of staff make preparations at a COVID-19 testing lab built with an air-inflated structure in Daxing District, Beijing, capital of China, June 22, 2020.  (Xinhua/Peng Ziyang)

An investigation into the inaccurate BGI nucleic acid test result by the Hong Kong Special Administration Region found the incident may have been caused by human error, reagent residue or environmental contamination, Hong Kong police said Friday, according to media reports. 

The news comes after China's biotech firm BGI Genomics Co. found 16 initially positive test samples for the novel coronavirus in the Hong Kong SAR. However, a re-examination by the Department of Health of the Hong Kong SAR and the local hospital authority showed that all the samples were negative.

An employee at the laboratory is suspected of shaking a vessel containing deep throat saliva samples in the laboratory on three separate occasions on February 9 and 11, which affected the test results, media reports said.

In response to the incident, BGI Genomics Co. said that they apologize to all citizens who were affected. 

"As a responsible testing agency, we immediately launched an internal investigation into the incident and reported the incident to the relevant authorities," BGI said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Friday.

BGI also submitted their report to the Department of Health of the SAR government on time and pledged to retest all positive samples to prevent a recurrence of the incident, the company said.

The local government said that it attaches great importance to the occurrence of false positive test results by private laboratories and has asked the laboratories concerned to conduct in-depth investigations, submit investigation reports and offer recommendations to improve and ensure similar incidents not happen again, Jiemian News reported on Thursday.

Global Times