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LabGenomics shares hit 2-month low on reports about COVID-19 test kits

SEOUL, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Shares in South Korean biomedical firm LabGenomics Co Ltd fell to a two-month low on Tuesday, after media reports that said a U.S. lab had stopped using the company’s COVID-19 test kits due to reliability concerns.

The Baltimore Sun newspaper reported on Friday that LabGenomics test kits imported by the state of Maryland had returned a spate of false positive results to nursing homes. The report was picked up by South Korean media on Tuesday.

LabGenomics in a statement on Tuesday described the reports as erroneous and based on results from tests by a Maryland facility to see if the COVID-19 kits could detect influenza viruses. A company official said the exported test kits were only designed to detect COVID-19 and could not detect the flu.

The LabGenomics statement said this had been confirmed by Maryland authorities. Reuters was not able to reach a spokesperson for the Maryland government outside of business hours.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and the University of Maryland sent statements to South Korea’s foreign ministry saying that the tests were fine and being used, online media Edaily reported on Tuesday, citing LabGenomics.

In response to queries, South Korea’s foreign ministry said Maryland authorities reported that the diagnostic kit was being used normally while the University of Maryland also elaborated that it approved the kit as a satisfactory diagnostic kit.

LabGenomics shares fell as much as 16% before paring losses to trade 3.5% lower, compared with the wider KOSPI’s 1.7% fall. (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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