Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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Here the plane takes off for Germany – fully loaded with Swedish corona tests

It is four in the morning when a small plane takes off from Jönköping Airport. There are thousands of Swedish covid samples on board. The destination is Germany and one of Europe’s largest laboratories.

In just under three months, around half a million PCR tests were sent from five Swedish regions to Germany for analysis at Eurofin’s laboratory, SVT’s survey shows. This corresponded to approximately one-fifth of all tests performed in Sweden during the period.

– We changed the situation overnight, says Henrik Jonsson who is CEO of Eurofins food and feed testing Sweden.

Regions sounded the alarm

Since last spring, Eurofins has contacted the Swedish Public Health Agency several times and offered its help. But the agreement was not signed until the end of November. Already two months earlier, documents show that several regions sounded the alarm that the test capacity in Sweden needed to be expanded.

– We received signals from the regions and the Public Health Agency that the need did not exist before. But in October, November and December, all labs in Sweden were run at one hundred percent. Had we had the opportunity to help in April, we would have done it, says Henrik Jonsson.

Now the analysis company’s assignment from the Swedish Public Health Agency has changed and they only analyze positive test results in search of a mutated virus.

Principal: The competence is in Sweden

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At the same time, there is criticism that Swedish tests have been sent to Germany. Ole Petter Ottersen, rector of Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, believes that KI early on had analysis capacity that was not used.

– We have the expertise, expertise and infrastructure to scale up here at home in Sweden. So why should we not do this? I think that what we are now going to do to look ahead is to scale up here in Sweden, says Ole Petter Ottersen.

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell believes that Sweden has had a need for German analysis capacity.

– Especially now when we needed to analyze for the new variants that we are worried about. Then we use these large commercial laboratories that have a very large capacity. We have no corresponding laboratories in Sweden, he says.

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