The Tamil Nadu government has decided to return 24,000 rapid test kits received by them and stated that the current orders also stand cancelled as per the Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR) directives. This came after the states were advised by the ICMR to stop using kits procured from the two companies — Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics — and return them to the suppliers.
"As per the ICMR order, all 24,000 kits received by the Tamil Nadu government are being returned," Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar said in a statement. There was no "expenditure incurred" by the state government, he said, adding all remaining orders were also being cancelled in line with the ICMR directive.
The government and opposition DMK clashed over the pricing of the kits, with the latter demanding 'transparency' while the ruling dispensation asserted that the procurement was done based on rates fixed by the Centre. On DMK president MK Stalin questioning the state government's decision of paying Rs 600 for a kit priced at Rs 245, the Tamil Nadu CMO said that Stalin released the statement without proper knowledge.
Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said that the state has the "highest number of recovery cases. It stands at 56.8 per cent and mortality rate at 1.2 per cent." The state of Tamil Nadu has so far reported a total of 1885 cases of COVID, with 1020 recoveries and 24 deaths.
The Indian Council of Medical Research had issued an advisory to states across the country halting the use of rapid antibody tests procured from two Chinese manufacturers. Acting on faulty anti-body testing kits, the ICMR, on Monday, has cancelled the order of 15 lakh rapid anti-body test kits from China. ICMR has also advised states to return the kits to the supplier as the kits have failed in spite of showing '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.
(with agencies input)