The Madagascar government says it wants an explanation from Pasteur Institute after alleged number of ‘false positives’ were found in patients’ samples it submitted for COVID-19 testing.
The government was reported to have given a directive for the original samples to be tested again at a different laboratory, Radio France International has reported.
The government, then had the original samples retested, and only five positive cases were found when the samples were sent to the Charles Mérieux Centre for Infectious Disease, a research centre in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar – a contrary to the 67 positive cases that Pasteur Institute had announced.
In its defence, the institute, which said it received the samples on May 6, admitted that samples were sent to its laboratory for analysis, but insisted that they could possibly have been contaminated.
Director of Institut Pasteur, André Spiegel, noted that “a sample of an exceptional viral load could contaminate an entire series.”
He said unintentional contamination could have affected the entire chain when taking samples from the hospital to their arrival at the institute.
Spiegel said tests were carried out only on samples brought to the centre from the Malagasy Ministry of Health.
He said the Institut Pasteur conducted an internal investigation, but did not find any issues with the diagnostic process.
The government is presently looking into the matter.
Presently, the Indian Ocean Island country has reported 21 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 304.