BTNX in Hot Water After Deletion of Crucial Data
In a surprising turn of events, a small Toronto-based rapid test importer, BTNX, secured an estimated $2 billion in federal contracts during 2021 and 2022, despite a year-long investigation revealing concerning practices. Global News discovered that BTNX deleted crucial data from a study submitted to Health Canada, presenting its COVID-19 test as more reliable than it actually was.
The investigation disclosed that the deleted specimens skewed the test's accuracy, making it more likely to produce false-negative results, potentially jeopardizing Canadian lives. Jillian Kohler, director of the University of Toronto’s World Health Organization Collaborating Centre, expressed outrage over the discrepancies in testing that had real-life implications.
BTNX, initially a harm reduction kit supplier, became the leading rapid test supplier in Canada during the pandemic. Despite lacking specific expertise in infectious diseases, the company secured 15 contracts, becoming a crucial part of the nation's pandemic response. The tests, imported from China, became widely used for various purposes, from workplace screenings to visiting loved ones in long-term care facilities.
The investigation uncovered that BTNX sourced its tests from Assure Tech in China and deleted data from a study, raising ethical concerns among researchers. While BTNX maintains its transparency, experts criticize the apparent flaws in the test's reliability.
The controversy raises questions about the Canadian government's decision-making, as Health Canada and the Public Health Agency purchased 404 million tests from BTNX. Despite concerns, Health Canada defended the tests' scientific integrity, emphasizing the importance of following fine-print instructions and verifying results with PCR tests.
As Canadians face a potential uptick in COVID-19 infections during the holidays, the controversy surrounding BTNX's tests adds uncertainty. With BTNX threatening legal action and Health Canada showing no immediate plans for investigation, the aftermath of this revelation leaves many with lingering questions and concerns.
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