Guwahati: After the 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. Following this directive, the Assam government has now suspended rapid anti-body tests.
Taking to twitter, health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “In view of advisory issued by @ICMR state govt has suspended Rapid Anti Body tests, for next two days.”
Assam government had received 9,600 test kits from the centre on Monday and was to start rapid testing from Wednesday. These kits substantially cut down the testing time from 6 hours to 15 minutes.
The Centre’s decision to defer the usage of rapid testing kits comes 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, 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.