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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in San Diego recently caught a shipment of hundreds of illegal, unapproved COVID-19 test kits.

The shipment of two parcels arrived on a flight from Mexico to San Diego International Airport on Dec. 1, officials said this week. They were labeled as “plastic card” on the manifest. However, an inspection revealed the shipments actually contained 251 test kits that had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA.)

The FDA has granted hundreds of “emergency use authorizations” for COVID-19 testing products in an effort to make tests widely available and slow the spread of the viral disease.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in San Diego, California, caught a shipment of hundreds of illegal unapproved COVID-19 test kits earlier this month.
(Customs and Border Protection)

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Unapproved tests pose the risk of giving a false negative result, causing someone with the virus to continue spreading it or miss needed treatment; or of giving a false positive and wasting valuable medical resources. To date, the coronavirus has claimed the lives of 288,000 Americans and infected about 15 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anne Maricich, CBP’s San Diego director of field operations, said in a written statement that the tests were “unauthorized, unproved and potentially unsafe.”

“This is a perfect example of the great investigative work by our officers to protect our country from goods that could do us harm,” Maricich said.

The shipment of two parcels arrived on a flight from Mexico to San Diego International Airport on Dec. 1.
(iStock)

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Authorities estimated the value of the seized tests at about $5,000.

CBP officers at airports and other entry points around the country have seized shipments of items like counterfeit masks and other phony COVID-19 items since the pandemic began. This wasn’t the first time someone tried to bring tests into the country without FDA approval, either.

In March, officers in Los Angeles caught a package of suspected counterfeit COVID-19 test kits in a shipment from the U.K. They had been mislabeled on the shipping manifest as “purified water vials.”

The FDA has granted hundreds of “emergency use authorizations” for COVID-19 testing products in an effort to make tests widely available and slow the pandemic.
(Customs and Border Protection)

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In May, El Paso, Texas, CBP officers caught a man crossing the Mexican border with a suitcase containing 1,000 counterfeit COVID-19 rapid tests.

CBP officers in Rochester, N.Y., also reported seizing a shipment of test kits that hadn’t been approved by the FDA.

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