New Delhi: Hours after the ICMR asked states to stop using the COVID-19 rapid antibody test kits procured from two Chinese companies, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday decided to return 24,000 rapid test kits to China. Also Read - IIT-Delhi's Method For COVID-19 Detection Approved by ICMR, Can Reduce Cost of Testing
“As per the ICMR order, all 24,000 kits received by the Tamil Nadu government are being returned,” Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar said in a statement. Also Read - 'Rapid Antibody Kits Not For Regular Diagnosis of COVID-19,' ICMR Issues Protocol to States
Saying that there was no expenditure incurred by the state government, the minister said all remaining orders were also being cancelled in line with the ICMR directive. Also Read - Hydroxychloroquine May Have Side Effects Like Nausea, Abdomen Pain, ICMR Will Study
The development comes after the Indian Council of Medical Research told states that it evaluated the kits of Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livson Diagnostics in field conditions. “The results have shown wide variation in their sensitivity, despite early promise of good performance for surveillance purpose”, the ICMR said.
However, DMK chief MK Stalin, who has been raising the pricing issue, questioned the rationale behind the ‘sky high’ rate of the kits, purchased at Rs 600 per unit by the state government. Stalin alleged that there was lack of transparency in the matter.
“Further, Chief Minister K Palaniswami should clarify whether the results of tests done using these kits were accurate,” Stalin demanded.
Issuing an advisory to chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories on Monday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said it evaluated the kits of Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livson Diagnostics in field conditions.
“In view of this, states are advised to stop using these kits, procured from the above mentioned companies and return them to be sent back to the suppliers,” it said.