PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland man and a Chinese company are under investigation after federal agents seized 100 unauthorized coronavirus test kits that were shipped to his apartment.
The COVID-19 test kits were not FDA approved and prohibited from entering the country in the first place, let alone going to a private individual’s house. According to a federal search warrant in mid-March, United State Customs intercepted the suspicious coronavirus test kit package headed to an address in north Portland.
Authorities raided his apartment last Wednesday.
They discovered the man who bought these isn’t a medical care provider — but the former employee of a now-defunct cannabis business. Court documents say he bought them at 50 cents each. According to the affidavit, a coronavirus physician said 50 cents is preposterous — current COVID-19 swab tests now run for at least $1,000.
The Chinese company also doesn’t have authority to send kits to the public.
According to the feds, there are currently no approved, cleared, or emergency-use authorized COVID-19 tests for home use. If these kits were marketed for home use or distributed for that purpose, then the China company would be in violation.
Leroy Hwang, FDA consumer safety officer, confirmed the Chinese company does not have authority to send kits to personal individuals.
Hwang reported in documents, “there are currently no approved, cleared, or (emergency use ) authorized COVID-19 test kits for at-home use. If these kits are marketed for home use or distributed for home use, they are in violation.”
The kits that were seized were said to test for anti-bodies. Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines explains that is a blood test that would suggest someone has recovered from COVID-19.
“There is a lot of hope around these tests for being able to sort people into immune versus not immune as a form of response,” she said. “But these tests are not readily available at this time.”
The FDA has acknowledged that a home test kit would be useful and is working with companies to develop one — but as of now, you can only get a COVID-19 test from your health care provider.
The FBI asks anyone who may have been the target or victim of a coronavirus related scheme to contact their internet crime complaint center.