Don’t use Rapid Test Kits for two days, says Indian Council of Medical Research

Don’t use Rapid Test Kits for two days, says Indian Council of Medical Research

NEW DELHI: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), here on Tuesday, asked States to stop use of rapid testing kits of COVID-19 for at least two days as they were giving inaccurate results.

Addressing the media, ICMR Chief Scientist Raman Gangakhedkar said, “We had received complaints from one State on Monday. On Tuesday, we asked two more States if they also experienced the problem. The difference in results of RT-PCR positive samples is huge, 6 to 71 per cent, at some places. We have advised States to halt its use for two days.”

A lot of variations were observed in results of positive samples, tested by RT-PCR which was not good, he said and added, the ICMR would be in a position to give any advisory in at least two days.

The reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is a laboratory technique combining reverse transcription of RNA into DNA and amplification of specific DNA targets using polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

The kits would be tested and validated by the on-ground teams instead of labs as Covid-19 was a new disease and the testing kits required to be refined, he said.

“We will deploy teams of our 8 institutes for on-ground validation of kits. If problems were found, those batches of kits would be sent to the manufacturing company for replacement,” Gangakhedkar said.

The ICMR has received 500,000 rapid test kits from two Chinese companies - Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics.

When West Bengal accused the ICMR of sending faulty kits, it refuted the charges saying the kits should be stored in below 20 degree Celsius temperature to get accurate results. It also said if the variation in results was not big then there was no need to worry.

But now the ICMR has said any new observation about the testing kits would not be taken lightly and would be cross-checked thoroughly.

Earlier during the day, the Rajasthan government had decided to stop the use of rapid test kits from China as they were showing only 5.4 per cent accuracy in testing COVID-19 cases, said State Health Minister Raghu Sharma in Jaipur. The kits, used on COVID-19 positive patients, showed them negative too, Sharma added.

Sharma said the Health Department had set up a committee to test these kits’ accuracy. It should have been 90 per cent, but, according to the committee, the accuracy was only 5.4 per cent. “We followed all the ICMR guidelines during testing. But doctors advised that there is no benefit using these kits. Hence, investigation has been stopped with rapid testing kit,” he said. At present, testing is being done by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kits. The department had ordered purchase of more PCR kits, he added. (IANS)

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