The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) said it was alerted on April 17 by UW Medicine to discontinue use of a recently-procured batch of COVID-19 specimen collection kits that UW Medicine believed may have a quality control issue. As a result, DOH recalled approximately 12,000 kits sent to local health jurisdictions, tribal nations, and state agency partners across the state.
“Though the quality control issue has only been observed in a small number of tubes of viral transport media (VTM), we adhere to the highest quality standards for COVID-19 testing in Washington state,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “We are working with our partners to have them discard the product and will work to replace them as quickly as we can.”
VTM is the fluid that preserves a specimen during transport, such as one collected via nasal swab from a person being tested for COVID-19. Some of the vials of VTM were an unusual color, which prompted UW Medicine to reach out to DOH to work together to investigate potential contamination. DOH officials believe there is no health risk to patients, as the VTM does not come in contact with patients during a COVID-19 test.