Professor Alexandru Rafila, the most reputable Romanian epidemiologist and the Romanian representative at the European Union of Medical Specialists, was interviewed by the local Spot Media. In the interview, professor Rafila questioned the quality of the COVID-19 tests done in Romania:
This problem existed from the very beginning. From the Scientific Commission, we sent a proposal towards the Ministry of Health to set up a system, coordinated at the university centers level, for instructing and for checking the quality of the testing. It’s not been done yet. From my knowledge, the tests are done by respecting procedures, but there is enough room for improving the quality of the testing.
The quality of the tests is important, if the reagents are the proper ones and if they are within the validity period, but the most important one is the experience in molecular diagnosis of the personnel in charge of testing.Alexandru Rafila for Spot Media
There is not the first time when the quality of the testing kits is questioned. In March alone, Romanian authorities confiscated tens of thousands of unreliable test kits for COVID-19, sold over the internet.
Four months later, the reliability of testing for COVID-19 came back on the public agenda once more in a moment when Romania reached a high daily number of new infections. Recently, the case of the football champion team CFR Cluj cast a doubt on the quality of testing.
Thus, 26 players and technical staff from CFR Cluj were found positive for COVID-19 after a testing session done last week. A few days later, when repeating the tests, only 5 players were found positive for COVID-19 in two consecutive testing sessions. Yet, the positive tests were done on a different medical clinic, in Bucharest, and the negative tests were conducted in a clinic in Cluj. Now, the club wants to sue the first clinic for what the doctors say it could have been a false positive result.
This example is not unique, though, and Romania could register tens or even hundreds of false positive tests each day. This is, as professor Rafila mentioned, a consequence of the quality of the test kits, but also of the procedures or even of the quality of the personnel conducting the tests.