Acting on faulty anti-body testing kits, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), on Monday, has cancelled the order of 15 lakh rapid anti-body test kits from China. The two firms - Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics which were given the order have supplied kits which have produces inaccurate results. Earlier in the day, ICMR had issued an advisory to states across the country halting the use of rapid antibody tests procured from two Chinese manufacturers.
ICMR has also advised states to return the kits to the supplier as the kits have failed inspite of showung 'early promise of good performance for surveillance purposes' 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. Several states including Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal had complained of 'faulty' testing kits causing a delay inaccurate results.
In several COVID-19 briefings, ICMR has stated that these rapid anti-body tests were not suitable for diagnosis but for surveillance and cannot replace the RT-PCR tests to diagnose COVID-19 cases. ICMR has also issued guidelines for using anti-body tests advising that if an individual tests negative for anti-body tests, but positive for RT-PCR test - he is a confirmed COVID-19 case and isolation, treatment, contact tracing must be done as per protocol. However, if an individual tests positive for anti-body test, treatment in hospital or isolation as per protocol, must be followed.
On April 9, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) revised its testing strategy. The new strategy which has been released by the ICMR also includes testing in 'hotspots/cluster' for all symptomatic cases - within 7 days (rRT- PCR method) and after 7 days (antibody test). The ICMR previously only allowed testing of all people with symptoms with travel history, contact history, SARI patients and asymptomatic people with high-risk contacts. Currently, there are 28380 COVID- cases in India with 886 deaths.