New Delhi: Amid complaints against the quality of the rapid antibody testing kits which arrived from China, the group of ministers in their meeting on Saturday decided to postpone rapid tests for now as the Coronavirus situation in India in under control. Also Read - Working From Office in Lockdown 5.0? Follow These Guidelines
“According to the government, currently, the capacity is to conduct more than 15 lakh tests. Additionally, several Indian companies are in the process of developing test kits. More than 1.25 lakh volunteers are ready to assist in the fight against,” reported ANI quoting sources. Also Read - Lockdown 5.0: No, You Can't do These Activities Till June 30 | Check List
On Friday, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had said that all faulty kits will be returned to the originating country, including those that have come from China. “We haven’t yet paid a penny,” the health minister had said. Also Read - Lockdown 5.0: As States Get to Decide Guidelines, Madhya Pradesh Extends Lockdown Till June 15, Religious Places Not Opening
According to reports, India had placed orders for about 37 lakh rapid antibody testing kits from various companies based out of China, South Korea and Singapore. About 7 lakh kits have already reached India — mainly from China.
A few days ago, the Indian Council of Medical Research asked states to stop using the rapid testing kits as complaints were pouring in from various states. Assam and Rajasthan governments, for instance, said they were not going to use the kits.
“We got a complaint about 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,” ICMR chief R Gangakhedkar had said.
There are two types of rapid test kits to detect novel coronavirus infections. One is based on antigen detection and other antibody detection. The antigen-based one was not recommended. ICMR allowed antibody-based tests in India. These tests are cheaper than the RT-PCR tests and the results are expected in 15 minutes. It was recommended in highly affected areas.
For the antibody-based rapid diagnostic test, the WHO says the majority of patients develop antibody response only in the second week after onset of symptoms. This means that a diagnosis of Covid-19 infection based on antibody response will often only be possible in the recovery phase.