Shenzhen-based gene tech firm under fire after COVID-19 testing unit reprimanded for lax management
Published: Nov 28, 2022 10:26 PM Updated: Nov 28, 2022 10:17 PM
Local residents queue up to take nucleic acid tests in Beijing on November 14, 2022. Photo: IC

Local residents queue up to take nucleic acid tests in Beijing on November 14, 2022. Photo: IC

A Shenzhen-based gene technology firm has come under fire after an on-site inspection by local authorities in Lanzhou, Northwest China's Gansu Province revealed inconsistencies in the nucleic acid test results provided by the firm's testing subsidiary.

Shenzhen Nucleus Gene Technology Co found itself in hot water over the past few days, since the Health Commission of Lanzhou said in an announcement on Friday that staffers with the company's local testing laboratory wrongfully counted certain abnormal test results in a tally of negative results and uploaded them into the working system around 1 am the day before. 

As a consequence, the health codes of some people waiting to be transferred showed negative results on Thursday morning, according to the Friday statement.

The inconsistencies in testing results soon shone the spotlight on the gene tech firm, whose testing facilities have frequently been caught up in controversy.

In August, a medical testing unit in Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province linked to the Shenzhen firm's testing subsidiary was fined 20,000 yuan ($2,781.22) by the Changsha Health Commission for failing to obtain relevant medical qualifications, among other irregularities.

Coincidentally, the testing laboratory in Lanzhou was established in August. In the Friday statement, the laboratory was reprimanded by the Lanzhou Health Commission for lax management of its staffers, inadequate reviews and interference with people's normal production and life, as well as the anti-epidemic effort.

The testing subsidiary's other linked labs were subject to multiple fines throughout the past two years, media reports said.

Shenzhen Nucleus Gene Technology Co was founded in April 2012, with 46 subsidiaries and 31 laboratories nationwide. It has been granted 11 medical testing facility licenses and 20 forensic institute licenses, the STAR Market Daily reported on Monday, citing company introduction on display at the company's headquarters in Shenzhen.

Claiming to be the country's largest gene testing firm in terms of laboratory sizes and license numbers, Shenzhen Nucleus Gene Technology involved investment totaling 300 million yuan and its IPO plans have officially kicked off, the report said.

The company's laboratory constellation purportedly covers Shenzhen, Changsha, Wuhan and Beijing.

In a separate posting on Monday, the STAR Market Daily said that the health bureau in the Nanshan district, Shenzhen maintains strict supervision over nucleic acid testing laboratories within its jurisdiction.

Each laboratory is equipped with a stationed supervisor and a commissioner is assigned to the laboratory 24 hours a day, who has whole-process oversight of staff duties, testing processes, equipment, data and information submission, read the posting, citing an unidentified source related to the bureau.

"If a problem is spotted, we'll require an immediate overhaul," the source said.

Global Times