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Pennsylvania County reports thousands of ‘dubious’ COVID results



A Pennsylvania county has acknowledged that tests it has purchased from a local biotech startup produced “potentially inaccurate” results for thousands of people.

Chester County promised this week to reach out to those who received the “questionable test results” in late May and to appoint a consultant to review the purchase of the antibody tests, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The news comes days after the newspaper reported that the county spent $ 1

3 million in federal pandemic assistance on a no-bid contract for Malvern-based Advaite. The test program was designed to identify key employees who had developed disease-fighting antibodies that appear in the bloodstream after COVID-19 infection.

For the first few weeks after testing, starting on May 7, the tests produced results that appeared to be accurate. But two weeks later, the percentage of people who tested positive for coronavirus antibodies began to increase levels well above what was likely, based on the presence of the virus in the area. The county finally laid out the program on June 2nd.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says antibody tests should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. But Chester health officials and their lab partner decided to interpret certain results as signaling a current infection. Patients with these results received emails stating that “You may have COVID-19. You’re probably contagious. You need to isolate yourself at home. ”

However, the county never informed those who may have received false alarms, nor did it reveal the dubious results – about 6,100 of the 19,425 tests it conducted – on its website.

Chester County said Tuesday that its three-member board committee would appoint an “independent legal consultant” to review the process of purchasing and acquiring the antibody tests.

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