Maharashtra orders 9 lakh RT-PCR testing kits from Chennai

Amid increasing daily covid-19 tests across Maharashtra, the Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation LTD who is the main body for the procurement of medicines in the state has ordered 9 lakh Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing kits worth Rs 4.50 crore from Chennai.

On November 21, the institute had floated a tender for the procurement of kits. Out of the 9 lakh RT-PCR testing kits, 1,72,000 kits have been allocated for Mumbai. Almost 2,27,400 kits will be sent to the National Institute of Virology and another, 50,200 kits will be given to the family welfare department in Pune.

“We have selected a Chennai-based company to supply these kits. Moreover, in the first phase, we will get 4.50 lakh testing kits. Later, we will receive another slot of 4.50 lakh of kits,” said an official from the institute.

RT-PCR is deemed as the golden standard of detecting Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. It requires biosafety laboratory setups.

As per the document available from the procurement cell of the institute, each kit costs Rs 50.06. In total, the state government will have to shell out Rs 4,50,54,000 for the procurement of the kits.

Meanwhile, amid a shortage of the kits, the state government had purchased 12 lakh RT-PCR testing kits from a company based in West Bengal, of which half of the kits were faulty.

In the state, so far over one crore, thirteen thousand tests have been conducted including rapid antigen that gives results within 30 minutes.

As per the rules of the Indian medical council of India (ICMR), every positive report through RAT is treated as true positive, while those with negative reports have to be mandatorily re-tested through RT-PCR only if they display symptoms. Thus, medical experts believe that many asymptomatic patients are slipping away through the gaps of the rules.

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