States asked to stop using rapid test kits for 2 days

NEW DELHI, APR 21 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 4/21/2020 11:56:50 AM IST

Indian Council of Medical Research Tuesday told states to stop using the newly-distributed Chinese rapid testing kits (RT-PCR) to detect coronavirus for the next two days after huge variations in the accuracy of results were noticed across regions. The RT-PCR test is the gold standard for frontline test for Covid-19.

Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR Raman R Gangakhedkar said: “We got a complaint of less detection from one state. So we spoke to three states and found that a lot of variation is there in the accuracy of test results of positive samples, in some places it is 6 per cent while others it is 71 per cent.”

“This is not a good thing because when such a huge variation is seen we need to investigate further even if it is the first generation of the test. This disease is only 3.5-month-old so all technologies will be refined over time but we can’t ignore these findings,” he said. He added that over the next two days the ICMR will be sending eight expert teams on the field to validate the results.

“Hence, all states are requested to not use the rapid testing kits on the field for the next two days,” Gangakhedkar said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Rajasthan government stopped using the China-made rapid testing kits for coronavirus after they delivered inaccurate results. ICMR had also received complaints related to repeat testing of patients in West Bengal as the RT-PCR kits were not working properly.

India procured five lakh rapid antibody testing kits from China last week and these were distributed to states for the districts with a high burden of the infection.


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