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ICMR orders to stop using rapid test kits!

Tuesday, many hind issues were brought to light as ICMR deduced that the results that came after two days were faulty, after using the rapid antibody test.  IT has also claimed that it will investigate the issue of faulty kits.

 

Highlights:

  • Rajasthan complained that the test kits are faulty because of the inaccurate results.
  • The accuracy of the results ranges from 6-71 per cent.
  • ICMR will be sending expert teams on fields to test the new kits

 

The breach:

ICMR breached about using the Chinese rapid testing kits that is said to detect coronavirus is faulty. Due to the huge variations in the result and reading ICMR alarmed the states to stop using the kit.

Addressing its daily briefing on 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.

Further, he added, “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,”.

 

Many states report:

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.

The ICMR also said it will raise an issue with the manufacturer of the kits if results continue to be faulty.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Rajasthan government stopped using the China-made rapid testing kits for coronavirus after they delivered inaccurate results.

 

The spokesperson:

The state’s health minister Raghu Sharma said the kits gave only 5.4 per cent accurate results against the expectation of 90 per cent accuracy and therefore the kits were of no benefit, adding that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been informed about the issue.

The 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.

 

The testing:

The rapid testing kits, through which blood samples are tested, were aimed at speeding up screening and detection of suspected coronavirus patients as they take less time to show results in comparison to the swab-based tests carried out in pathology labs.

This is different from the RT-PCR kit which is currently used for confirming cases and rely on molecular data. The RT-PCR test is the gold standard for frontline test for COVID-19. The rapid kit test was not a confirmatory test and PCR based test was required for confirmation of a positive result.

The rapid antibody test kits procured are not meant for early diagnosis, but only for surveillance and trend checking and are US FDA approved.

 

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