Half a million coronavirus tests used by thousands of Britons were recalled after spot checks revealed they were not sterile, it was claimed today.
The Department of Health yesterday instructed care homes and the public to stop using the kits produced by Randox Laboratories.
It pulled more than 500,000 of the swab kits amid fears they could give Britons who fear they have the disease unreliable results.
Health bosses have refused to reveal how many Britons used them before they were recalled but the Northern Irish firm is one of the UK’s main suppliers of tests.
Early in the crisis, Randox won a £133million contract to carry out at-home Covid-19 tests and ones administered at drive-through centres and care homes.
As part of the deal, swabs are posted to people’s houses, care homes and testing facilities and sent back to Randox to be processed in its labs and give a diagnosis.
So tests made by the manufacturer likely account for a huge chunk of the 150,000 swabs being carried out every day in Britain.
Concerns about the safety of the tests were raised on Wednesday when it emerged a Chinese firm which supplies the swabs to Randox had not provided safety assurance documents. This prompted the UK to carry out physical inspections of the kits.