In a major development on Monday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued an advisory to states across the country halting the use of rapid antibody tests procured from two Chinese manufacturers. After several states complained of faulty kits and 'objectionable' accuracy, the ICMR had advised the states to halt rapid testing and placed two Chinese manufacturers - Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics - under its scanner.
The ICMR has now advised the states to stop the usage of rapid testing kits from these manufacturers. According to an ICMR official, Guanzhou Wondfo Biotech provided about 5 lakh rapid antibody test kits while Zhuhai Livzon provided 2 lakh kits to four suppliers across the country.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issues revised advisory to state governments regarding Rapid Antibody Blood tests. ICMR has written to them to stop using Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics kits. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/brLQILbk54— ANI (@ANI) April 27, 2020
Meanwhile, the ICMR had earlier forwarded protocols for the usage of rapid testing kits to provide assistance to the states. The apex medical council has also communicated to the states and clarified that rapid antibody tests are largely to be used as a tool of surveillance and cannot replace the RT-PCR tests to diagnose COVID-19 cases. The ICMR has highlighted that the utility of these kits is evolving and that the test results are also dependent on field conditions. Several states including Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal had complained of 'faulty' testing kits causing a delay in accurate results.
At present, there are 20,835 active COVID-19 cases across the country. While 832 deaths have occurred, 6,184 individuals have recovered from the deadly disease. Maharashtra continues to remain the worst-affected state.
Earlier on April 24, a team of scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had visited AIIMS's National Cancer Institute (NCI) at Jhajjar in Haryana, to conduct the field validation of Chinese manufactured rapid antibody testing kits. A senior scientist from ICMR told ANI: "We have started the field validation of rapid antibody test kits, which we received from China. A group of scientists has gone to the NCI, Jhajjar, to do the field validation. This rapid antibody tests would be on the blood samples of COVID and non-COVID patients to learn the trend."