The West Bengal Health and Family Welfare Department has accused ICMR-NICED of providing defective testing kits to the state government which has led to a delay in providing results of COVID-19 suspects. In a series of tweets on Sunday, the Health Department alleged that testing kits supplied by the ICMR-NICED about two weeks ago has started to show a large number of 'inconclusive results.' The department also reasoned that the testing kits which were received by the National Institue of Virology, Pune did not depict such problem.
5/5 The apparently defective test kits supplied by ICMR-NICED, Kolkata are resulting in a high number of repeat/ confirmatory tests and causing delays and other attendant problems at a time when we are battling a pandemic. This is an issue that ICMR needs to look into immediately— Department of Health & Family Welfare, West Bengal (@wbdhfw) April 19, 2020
Furthermore, it stated that due to the large number of 'inconclusive results' resulting in repeat/confirmatory test run has caused the delay in the final results. The Bengal administration was earlier accused by several people including Governor Jagdeep Dhankar for not providing accurate COVID-19 data from the state. The Health Department has also alleged that a similar problem is being faced by other testing labs across the country and urged the ICMR to look into the matter immediately.
According to the recent bulletin, there are 198 active cases in the state while 66 people have recovered from the disease. The state has witnessed 12 deaths due to Coronavirus.
Earlier, the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), ICMR's nodal COVID-19 testing facility in Kolkata, had said the state government is not sending enough samples for tests. "There is a big drop. Last week we didn't even have 20 samples per day. Number of samples being sent is determined by the state government, so if they send more samples, we are able to test more. I think sample collection has not been as per the recommendation. So the number of tests being done in Bengal is also less," its director Dr Shanta Dutta had said recently.`
Some senior medical practitioners in Kolkata PTI spoke to said the "hush-hush" approach is worsening things and hindering aggressive testing to tackle the disease effectively. The number of tests should be increased immediately in order to estimate the spread of the contagion. As most patients or suspects are asymptomatic, we need to have more sample testing, a senior physician said. Chief Secretary Sinha said the state has its own limitations as it cannot start testing in any laboratory because only the facilities authorised by the ICMR can conduct the COVID-19 test.
WB Health Dept accuses ICMR of defective testing kits, alleges delay in results due to it