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Wed May 6, 2020, 01:43 PM

From Brisbane to Puerto Rico: how a $38m Covid-19 test kit deal turned sour

Source: The Guardian

From Brisbane to Puerto Rico: how a $38m Covid-19 test kit deal turned sour

The obscure Australian company Promedical said it could supply kits desperately needed by the US territory. But its claims did not stand up to scrutiny

Ben Smee and Christopher Knaus
Wed 6 May 2020 18.30 BST

Halfway across the world, Puerto Rican scientist Daniel Colón-Ramos watched Australian breakfast television with a growing sense of dread.

The host of Channel Nine’s Today Show, Karl Stefanovic, was interviewing a doctor from a small Brisbane company, Promedical Equipment, who was making extraordinary claims about its ability to supply millions of Covid-19 antibody tests to Australia each week.

Promedical, virtually unheard of before the pandemic, was of sudden and immense interest to Colón-Ramos, a Yale University cell biologist volunteering with scientific colleagues to help improve Puerto Rico’s pandemic response.

The company had made promises to a strange cast of intermediaries working for the Puerto Rican government, saying it was able to quickly supply large quantities of desperately needed Covid-19 antibody tests as part of a US$38m (A$59m) deal.

“I watched this video and this guy is being interviewed in front of a garbage truck, there was a garbage truck behind him, backing up,” Colón-Ramos tells Guardian Australia.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/07/from-brisbane-to-puerto-rico-how-a-38m-covid-19-test-kit-deal-turned-sour

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