“A gamble that became an embarrassment”

This is the kind of article that you read from behind your fingers. From the NYT: UK Paid $20 Million for New Coronavirus Tests. They Didn’t Work.

The two Chinese companies were offering a risky proposition: two million home test kits said to detect antibodies for the coronavirus for at least $20 million, take it or leave it.

The asking price was high, the technology was unproven and the money had to be paid upfront. And the buyer would be required to pick up the crate loads of test kits from a facility in China.

Yet British officials took the deal, according to a senior civil servant involved, then confidently promised tests would be available at pharmacies in as little as two weeks. “As simple as a pregnancy test,” gushed Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “It has the potential to be a total game changer.”

There was one problem, however. The tests did not work.