Italian prosecutors search Diasorin offices over coronavirus contracts

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Italian prosecutors have searched offices of medical diagnostic group Diasorin and a hospital in the northern region worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak in a probe over the award of antibody test contracts, a statement said on Wednesday.

The statement from the prosecutors’ office in the city of Pavia said the chief executive of Diasorin Carlo Rosa as well as senior officials of the Policlinico San Matteo hospital were under investigation.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Diasorin received undue favourable treatment when it was awarded a contract to help develop a coronavirus antibody test with the hospital.

The contract was awarded as part of a push to set up a widespread testing system in Italy, which has been among the countries in Europe worst affected by the coronavirus epidemic.

It has been challenged by rival diagnostics group Technogenetics and last month a court cancelled the deal before that ruling was overturned by the Council of State, the body which oversees the legality of public administration in Italy.

No comment was immediately available from either Diasorin or its CEO, or the San Matteo hospital. Diasorin and the hospital have previously said the contract was awarded properly.

The tests by Diasorin and the hospital identify antibodies in the blood developed by the immune system in reaction to the presence of the coronavirus. They have been in use since mid-April.

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