Mumbai: The Maharashtra government will have to wait for at least two days, or until further orders, for conducting 75,000 rapid tests in the state. This became necessary as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday asked states not to rush with the tests for two days, after it received complaints from Rajasthan that the tests had only 5.4% accuracy. Besides Rajasthan, at least two more states have voiced their unhappiness with the results, sources said.
Eight ICMR institutes will carry out field tests using these kits in different states; if certain batches are found faulty, the supplier in China will be asked to replace them. Questions were raised about the Chinese kits that reached India last week. Beijing has, however, denied the kits are of inferior quality.
These kits return results within 10 to 15 minutes and are considered crucial for expanding the testing capacity and for containment strategy in a state like Maharashtra.
State Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday announced that the corona tests in the state were being done strictly as per the ICMR protocol.
As part of this exercise, the State government proposes to conduct 75,000 rapids. However, the government will have to wait for at least two days now. Tope’s announcement comes on the heels of 552 new coronavirus patients surfacing in the state; the total tally in the state has reached 5,218.
Earlier this month, the government had procured around 7 lakh Rapid Testing kits from China and distributed them across the country after the ICMR advised testing for all people in the COVID-19 hotspots. The testing started four days ago.
However, in a letter to the states on April 17, the ICMR had made it amply clear that antibody tests can only be a supplementary tool. Antibody tests cannot replace the RT-PCR test for COVID-19 diagnosis, the top medical body had said.