Coronavirus update: Covid-19 rapid testing kits use suspended for two days due to ‘errors’ – india news
Country’s premier medical research body at the forefront of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 on Tuesday asked states to suspend rapid testing for the disease for the next two days, following complaints from at least two states- West Bengal and Rajasthan– that the exported antibody testing kits were returning erroneous results.
ICMR’s top scientist Dr Gangakhedkar said that in the next two days, eight ICMR institutes will carry out field tests using the rapid testing kits in different states for validation purposes and to find out if certain batches of the kits are faulty, following which feedback will be provided to states and the general public.
“We received a complaint from one state yesterday that rapid kits were leading to lesser detections, so we took feedback from three states today,” said Dr Gangakhedkar.
“We are learning that the positive samples of RT-PCR are showing too much variation (when tested by rapid kits) in the range of 6 to 71%,” he added, referring to the percentage of successful detection made by the rapid testing kits in positive cases.
ICMR expert said this amount of variation was not good and it needed to be investigated. However, he added that some discrepancies were expected since the virus was new.
“New tests show variation as the 1st generation ELISA is in the crude form, which needs to be refined, but these findings will not be overlooked,” he said.
West Bengal was among the first states to complain about poor accuracy of the rapid testing kits distributed to states through ICMR network. Rajasthan, too, on Tuesday decided to suspend testing after complaining of a high rate of inaccuracy.
The ICMR expert said the rapid test kits were tested in Delhi before they were sent out to states and had shown 71% accuracy. He added that its accuracy percentage was growing with the passage of time as Covid-19 antibodies taken seven days to build.
Gangakhedkar said that the issue could be raised with firms supplying the antibody testing kits if they were found to be malfunctioning.
The rapid testing kits return results within minutes and are considered crucial for expanding testing capacity and for the containment strategy.