Covid-19 Medical Materials Such as PCR Tests Began Shipping as Early as 2017

The World Bank World Integrated Trade Solution website publishes trade flows of goods internationally. If you look at this first link, you will see imports and exports of “Medical Diagnostic Test instruments and apparatus” (902780) imports by country in 2018: Medical Diagnostic Test instruments and apparatus (902780) imports by country | 2018 (

Here is the same page as it appeared on their website back in 2018 and 2017, which can be obtained using the “” website. Here, code 902780 was labeled “COVID-19 Diagnostic Test instruments and apparatus”: COVID-19 Diagnostic Test instruments and apparatus (902780) imports by country | 2018 ( and COVID-19 Diagnostic Test instruments and apparatus (902780) imports by country | 2017 (

There are two important things to note. First, that the the product code originally included “Covid-19” in the title. How did whoever labeled this product code know that “Covid-19” was going to be a thing back in 2017 and 2018? Second, why was the name later changed to “Medical Diagnostic Test instruments and apparatus”? This evidence suggests foreknowledge by the World Bank of the coming crisis. How could anyone know that a crisis would be coming and that it would be called “Covid-19” unless it was pre-planned or they were somehow clairvoyant?

ADDITION 2:15 PM, DECEMBER 27: Another possibility is that the information on the web archive is not authentic. If one tries to look up the web page for 2017 on the web archive, there are no saves prior to 2020. See the screen shot below. If the web page was authentic, one would think there would be an archive for the web page for 2017, but there is not. This is a puzzle I don’t have the answer to.

Published by markskidmore

Mark Skidmore is Professor of Economics at Michigan State University where he holds the Morris Chair in State and Local Government Finance and Policy. His research focuses on topics in public finance, regional economics, and the economics of natural disasters. Mark created the Lighthouse Economics website and blog to share economic research and information relevant for navigating tumultuous times.

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