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Stop using rapid test kits for 2 days: ICMR

Stop using rapid test kits for 2 days: ICMR

New Delhi: At a time when almost 1,000 positive cases of COVID-19 are reported every day in the country, the faulty Chinese rapid testing kits (RT-PCR) have added another set of worries for the government agencies working tirelessly to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

After huge variations in the accuracy of results were noticed across regions, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) directed states to stop using the newly-distributed Chinese rapid testing kits (RT-PCR) for COVID-19 testing for the next two days.

Notably, the decision in this regard has been taken after West Bengal and Rajasthan complained about the inaccuracies in the rapid kit results.

Notably, with 1,329 new cases in the last 24 hours, India on Tuesday reported a total of 18,985 confirmed cases, which includes 3,260 recoveries and 603 deaths. With 418 new recoveries in a day out of the total cured patients, the country's recovery rate improved from 16 per cent to 17.1 per cent on Tuesday.

Commenting on the issue, ICMR's chief scientist Raman R Gangakhedkar said: "We got a complaint of 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."

"This is not a good sign as when such a huge variation is seen we need to investigate further even if it is the first generation of the test. Since this disease is only 3.5-month-old so all technologies are in crude form and it needs to be refined over time. We can't ignore these findings," Gangakhedkar added.

Directing the states not to use these kits for the next two days, the ICMR official said: "A team from ICMR's eight institutes would go to the field, collect lots and do validation of test results. The states would be allowed to use those kits only after the validation. If the problem is found in the whole batch, the manufacturer would be asked to withdraw all the faulty kits."

As per the ICMR, 4,49,810 tests for COVID-19 have been conducted so far in India in 201 government labs and 86 private labs. On Monday, the ICMR had tested 35,852 samples, out of which 29,776 were tested in government labs, while 6,076 samples were tested in private labs.

Meanwhile, the total number of Coronavirus cases in the national Capital on Tuesday rose to 2,156, with 75 new cases and no fresh deaths reported, Delhi government authorities said. According to the health bulletin released by the Delhi Health Department on Tuesday, no fresh deaths have been reported.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a special testing facility for media persons from Wednesday, after Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra reported positive test results for several journalists and other staff members of media organisations.

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