Indian Council of Medical and Research (ICMR) on Tuesday directed all the states to stop using the new rapid test kits for coronavirus or COVID-19 for two days. This after a complaint was raised by the West Bengal government on the accuracy of the tests, 3 other states reported the same. According to ICMR high rate of variation was found in the accuracy of test results of positive samples, in some places it was 6 per cent while others it was as high as 71 per cent.
COVID-19, head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR Raman R Gangakhedkar in his daily briefing said that the huge variation in results will need to be investigated. Since the disease is only 3.5-month-old technologies will be refined over time but the faulty readings cannot be ignored.
ICMR will be sending teams on the ground to validate the results before it is allowed for use. Rajasthan government stopped using the rapid testing kits after they delivered inaccurate results.
Five lakh rapid antibody kits were procured from China last week and were distributed to states which were reporting higher infections. These tests use blood samples and are after in giving results in comparison to the swab-based test.