The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday rejected an assertion by Tanzania’s president that coronavirus tests it supplied are faulty.
John Nkengasong, Tanzania’s government spokesman said a team was conducting investigations on the laboratory that conducted the tests, and the outcome will be made public once complete. The World Health Organization expressed confidence in the tests.
On Sunday, Tanzanian President John Magufuli said the imported test kits were faulty after they had returned positive results on a goat and a pawpaw among several non-human samples submitted for testing, with technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins.
The next day, the head of the national health laboratory in charge of testing was suspended. The president did not say why the authorities had been initially suspicious of the tests. “The tests that Tanzania is using, we know they are working very well,” Nkengasong told journalists. The Africa CDC, along with the Jack Ma Foundation, a charity founded by the Chinese billionaire, supplied the tests, Nkengasong said.
Asked about Tanzania’s questioning of the tests, WHO Africa head Matshidiso Moeti said on a teleconference with the media: “We are convinced that the tests that have been provided … both through procurement through WHO and those that came through Jack Ma donations, were not contaminated with the virus.”