Rajasthan ceases use of rapid testing kits for coronavirus as most results invalid

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Published: April 21, 2020 2:39 PM

The Rajasthan government on Tuesday stopped using rapid testing kits for coronavirus after they delivered inaccurate results and informed the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) about the issue.

India received 6.5 lakh coronavirus testing kits from China last week.The state’s health minister Raghu Sharma said the kits gave only 5.4 per cent accurate results.

The Rajasthan government on Tuesday stopped using rapid testing kits for coronavirus after they delivered inaccurate results and informed the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) about the issue. The state’s health minister Raghu Sharma said the kits gave only 5.4 per cent accurate results against the expectation of 90 per cent accuracy and therefore the kits were of no benefit.

A committee comprising heads of medicine and microbiology departments at the Sawai Man Singh government hospital here was set up by the government to examine the accuracy of the kits and the committee found that only 5.4 per cent test results were accurate.

“As per the advice of the committee, we have stopped testing from the rapid testing kits. We have written to the ICMR about it and their response is awaited,” the minister said. He said 168 tests were conducted through rapid testing kits.

The kits were also used for testing of patients who have already been tested positive for coronavirus in PCR based tests and the result was negative in their case too, which, the minister said, raised questions about the credibility of these kits.

“If the ICMR’s response comes in our favour, the kits could be returned,” he said. Rajasthan had started conducting tests through rapid testing kits from Friday in the state’s hotspots, starting from Jaipur. The rapid testing kits, through which blood samples are tested, were aimed at speeding up screening and detection of suspected coronavirus patients. It was not a confirmatory test and PCR based test was required for the confirmation of a positive result.

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