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Ministry apologizes for incorrectly saying Viet A test kits were approved by WHO

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Ministry of Science and Technology has apologized for incorrectly announcing that Viet A Technology Corporation’s Covid-19 test kit was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

On April 26, 2020, the ministry announced on its website that “WHO on April 24 approved the Covid-19 test kit product jointly developed and produced by Viet A Technology Corporation and the Vietnam Military Medical Academy following the request of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The WHO evaluated the test kits based on the Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL) and granted the code EUL 0524-210-00 for the product.”

The ministry also announced that the product was granted a certificate from the Department of Health and Social Care of the United Kingdom for meeting European standards.

However, in a public report issued by the WHO on October 20, 2020, the organization said it had not accepted the LightPower SARS-CoV-2 1stRT-rPCR Kit by Viet A Technology Corporation.

“The LightPower SARS-CoV-2 1stRT-rPCR Kit with product code VA.A02-055H manufactured by Viet A Technology Corporation, 372A/8 Hue Van Hue, Ward 9, Phu Nhuan District, HCMC, Vietnam, is not eligible for WHO procurement,” the WHO said.

In an updated report released by the WHO on June 9, 2021, the LightPower SARS-CoV-2 1stRT-rPCR Kit was named among a list of products that were not approved by the WHO.

In a public report issued on October 20, 2020, WHO said the product was not eligible for WHO procurement – PHOTO: COURTESY OF WHO

Trinh Thanh Hung, deputy director of the Department of Science and Technology for Economics and Engineering, said the ministry did not carefully review WHO’s response to Viet A’s kit.

“This is a shortcoming of the Ministry of Science and Technology,” Hung said, adding that the information has been removed from the ministry’s website.

Although Viet A’s kit was not approved by the WHO, the test kits have been widely used in Vietnam since March 2020. Hung explained that the Ministry of Health’s approval for the use of Viet A’s kit product was independent of the WHO’s evaluation.

On December 19, the Ministry of Public Security investigators arrested Phan Quoc Viet, founder and general director of Viet A Technology Corporation, and several accomplices for allegedly violating bidding regulations and gouging prices of Covid test kits.

The Viet A boss paid a high commission to leaders of hospitals and provincial centers for disease control after they signed contracts to buy test kits from his company, according to the results of the investigation.

Most provinces and cities and hospitals nationwide purchased test kits from Viet A at VND470,000 or higher per kit, much higher than its value.

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