Students were handed out used coronavirus testing kits to students in Birmingham, it has been revealed.
Around 25 used swabs were given to students in Selly Oak as part of Birmingham City Council’s drop off and collect service.
Students from the University of Birmingham who received the tests opened the boxes only to discover sealed bags inside containing used swabs.
The council has launched an investigation into the blunder which occurred as workers went door-to-door in Tiverton Road on Tuesday (13/10).
Second year medical student Tasha Ashbridge told student news site The Tab: “The tests were sealed but we obviously didn’t expect that to mean they were used.”
Her housemate, Sophie Dunne, also a second year medic, told the site: “This was the first at home test I had done.
“After opening the test I could see that they had already been completed due to snapped off swabs in the test tube and sealed bag.”
Fortunately, the students made the discovery before using the kits and alerted the council workers who were handing out tests up the road.
Sophie revealed the workers “had no idea” what had happened.
She added: “When I went back to them there were loads of people at their doors saying the same thing. It’s such a scary thing to happen.”
Sophie claims she was told by council workers that they were given the “seemingly new packages externally to distribute”.
She added: “I would have at least thought the workers would have been advised what packaging was supposed to look like in event of tampering or contamination.
“The tests were quickly recollected but students weren’t given any info on what to do as obviously all the tests had been mixed up.”
Worryingly they claim another student and his housemates inadvertently used the second-hand kits before realising the blunder.
Tasha said: “It was obviously a mix up as they went door to door collecting them when I told them but some students had already opened the kits by then.”
Selly Oak sits at number 27 on the list of areas with the most new positive Covid cases.
Word of the error first got out after a student warned others on a community Facebook page on Tuesday.
They wrote: “Anyone on [Tiverton Road] given a covid test by guys in high-vis jackets, don’t open!
“They’ve already been done – we opened up the box and they were sealed and snapped so had obviously been used!”
A university spokesperson said: “The safety and well-being of our staff and students is our priority.
“The university adheres to all government and Public Health England guidance.”
The council are now said to have carried out an investigation overnight, which found there was “no evidence of cross-contamination”.
A spokesperson further added that there would be a “root and branch review” into the incident.