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Beware 'Bogus' COVID-19 Tests, Customs Officials Warn After Seizing Suspicious Vials At LAX

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered "suspected counterfeit COVID-19 test kits" in a package at LAX earlier this week. (Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
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The global COVID-19 pandemic has shut down entire countries. We’re in a national (and state) state of emergency. Grocery store shelves are emptying fast (enjoy all that T.P., hoarders).

So who would capitalize on people’s fear and uncertainty? U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered what they believe to be bogus testing kits this week at Los Angeles International Airport this week.

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A photo of the vials discovered by customs officials. (Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

On Thursday, customs agents assigned to LAX intercepted a package from the U.K. listed as “Purified Water Vials,” with a declared value of about $196 and change. Inside, officers found six plastic bags full of vials, which were “filled with a white liquid and labeled ‘Corona Virus 2019nconv (COVID-19)’ and ‘Virus1 Test Kit,’' according to a CBP press release.

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Officers believe they are counterfeit test kits and have turned them over to the Federal Drug Administration for testing.

CBP officials noted that authorized COVID-19 testing “is conducted in verified state and local public health laboratories across the United States.”

“The American public should be aware of bogus home testing kits for sale either online or in informal direct to consumer settings,” officials said.

So, please note: you can’t buy a coronavirus testing kit online and check yourself at home (though some ultra-wealthy Americans have found a work-around).

A reminder if you think you might have been exposed, or have COVID-19 symptoms: call your doctor for next steps. If you experience severe symptoms, get immediate medical attention. There’s a heavy backlog of tests nationwide right now, and the CDC is advising the public to contact your state health department with questions about the criteria for testing.

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