- COVID-19 rapid testing kits show varied results, ICMR stops their use
- Rapid testing kits will be tested and validated by on-ground teams: ICMR
- ICMR will issue an advisory on the use of rapid testing kits in next 2 days
New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday (April 21) advised the states to stop using COVID-19 rapid testing kits for the time being owing to big variations in their results and added that it would issue an advisory in this regard in the next two days. During a press briefing here, ICMR head scientist Dr R Gangakhedkar said, “The states have been advised to not use the COVID-19 rapid testing kits for two days. A lot of variations are being reported in the results of rapid test kits. The kits will be tested and validated by on-ground teams and we will give advisory in the next two days.”
Dr Gangakhedkar said this step has been taken after receiving a complaint from a state.
The rapid test kits have been distributed to states. Yesterday, we got a complaint from a state that these kits’ results are not satisfactory. Today, we asked three more states and got to know that positive samples are showing a lot of variation – from 6 per cent to 71 per cent. This is not a good thing, he said.
“We cannot ignore these findings. We have decided to send members from our eight institutes to the field in the next two days. The kits will be tested and validated by on-ground teams and we will give advisory in the next two days,” he added.
Dr Gangakhedkar informed that ICMR has tested 4,49,810 samples so far.
A total of 35,852 samples were tested yesterday, of which 29,776 samples were tested in 201 Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) network labs and remaining 6,076 samples were tested in 86 private labs, he said.
Responding to a question on the recent reports claiming 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases were reported from asymptomatic persons, Dr Gangakhedkar said, “I am repeating again that it is only in one study that we have found that 80 per cent cases are found in asymptomatic persons. In the tests so far, 31 per cent of cases are found in symptomatic people and 69 per cent in asymptomatic persons. It means that if one case is detected, two persons are affected on an average.”
Dr Gangakhedkar further said that India is continuously fighting against COVID-19.
It is a new disease, in the last three and a half months, science has progressed and developed PCR tests, five vaccines have gone into human trial phase out of 70 vaccine candidates. It has never happened before in case of any other disease, he said.