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TheCable

54gene tackles imitation of COVID test results, creates validation portal

54gene tackles imitation of  COVID test results, creates validation portal
December 09
17:14 2020

54gene, a genomics research, services and development company, has created a portal for the validation of COVID-19 test results attributed to its laboratory. 

TheCable had exposed the imitation of its test reports by government officials in an undercover investigation.

A government official gave TheCable a fabricated test result that appeared as coming from 54gene — even though the company had nothing to do with it.

It had a similar result template typically generated by 54gene, one of the private laboratories in Nigeria accredited to conduct COVID-19 tests for travellers.

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Obiora Emenike, a member of staff of the port health services (PHS) department under the federal ministry of health, had collected N20,000 as bribe from the reporter who had embarked on an undercover investigation to expose the scam.

In return, he sent him the fabricated result showing that he tested negative for the coronavirus even though his sample was not tested by 54gene.

The company has, however, denied having a hand in the test, threatening to “take necessary legal action” against anyone found to fabricate coronavirus test results in their name.

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Moyosola Kara, 54gene’s director of communications in Nigeria, said on Wednesday: “54gene is taking stringent steps to counter the issue of fake COVID-19 results and has created a validation portal which can be used by authorised officials to verify the authenticity of a 54gene COVID-19 result.”

The company had earlier told TheCable that “we are all working hand in hand with the Presidential Task force (on COVID-19) to create ways to ensure that results cannot be duplicated”.

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