The death toll due to the novel Coronavirus rose to 2,649 and the number of cases climbed to 81,970 in the country on Friday, with 100 more deaths and 3,967 fresh cases being reported in the past 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry. The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 51,401 as 27,919 people were cured and discharged, and one patient migrated, the ministry said.
Of the 2,649 deaths, Maharashtra tops the tally with 1,019 fatalities, followed by Gujarat at 586, Madhya Pradesh at 237, Rajasthan at 125, Delhi at 115, Andhra Pradesh at 48 and Telangana at 34. The death toll reached 88 in Uttar Pradesh, 66 in Tamil Nadu while Karnataka has reported 35 cases. The death toll in West Bengal stands at 215.
The ICMR on Thursday issued a revised guidance document on rapid antibody test kits for COVID-19 and listed the firms whose kits have been validated and found satisfactory.
The apex health research body had issued on Wednesday night a guidance document in which two Chinese firms -- Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics -- whose importer's licenses were cancelled by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation last month, found a mention among the list of companies, test kits of whose, have been validated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune so far.
The document, however, was taken down from the website in the morning and a revised one was uploaded later. The revised document also mentions the two Chinese firms, but states that "the marketing licenses to the distributors of these two companies have been cancelled by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO)."
The health research body, however, underlined that such rapid antibody test are not recommended for diagnosis of coronavirus infection. It had earlier said that such test kits are to be used only for surveillance purpose. "Till date, 42 antibody-based rapid tests have been validated, and the following were found to be satisfactory. Ten of these kits are manufactured in India," the ICMR said in the revised guidance document.
"These rapid antibody test kits have been validated in the laboratory. However, the performance of the kits may be subject to variation under field conditions," the ICMR underlined.
(With PTI inputs)