India received 5 lakh rapid COVID-19 testing kits from China: Health Ministry

PTI
Thursday, 16 April 2020

"Rapid antibody tests are for monitoring surveillance, not for diagnosis. Hence there is no concern with respect to the testing kits being faulty, that concern was with respect to immune response alone," Dr Gangakhedkare explained.  

New Delhi: India received the much-awaited five lakh rapid COVID-19 testing kits from China on Thursday, the government said. 

The Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR, Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, however, said these testing kits will be used for surveillance and to monitor whether coronavirus hotspots in the country are increasing or decreasing.  

Regarding concern over the efficacy of the rapid antibody testing kits, he said if an antibody test of a person turns out to be positive, one cannot necessarily be sure the person would not get infected ever again. "This means, even if antibody is present, that doesn't mean it will necessarily be effectively able to fight the virus." 

"Rapid antibody tests are for monitoring surveillance, not for diagnosis. Hence there is no concern with respect to the testing kits being faulty, that concern was with respect to immune response alone," Dr Gangakhedkare explained.  

Addressing a daily briefing to give updates on COVID-19 situation in the country, he said a total of 2,90,401 samples have been tested so far, of which 30,043 were tested on Wednesday itself. 

Out of the tests carried out on Wednesday, 26,331 were done in laboratories under Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) network and 3,712 in private labs, he added. 

Commenting on the testing capacity of ICMR network, the official said "Working in one shift, more than 42,400 samples can be tested each day. If we work in two shifts, we will be able to test more than 78,200 samples daily." 

The total number of COVID-19 cases in India stand at 12,380 and the death toll at 414. As many as 941 fresh cases and 37 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said, adding 183 people have recovered and discharged during the same time period. 

"If our case fatality rate is 3.3 per cent then the percentage of people who have recovered so far is around 12.02 per cent," he said. 

Agarwal also said that 325 districts in India have not reported any coronavirus case so far because of actions initiated at field level. 

Also, the implementation of containment strategies in some districts which earlier had reported COVID-19 cases, have yielded positive results. One of such place is Puducherry's Mahe district where no case of the infection has been reported in the last 28 days. There are 27 other districts also where no positive case has been reported in a fortnight, he said. 

About Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's allegation that India was not conducting enough coronavirus tests, the ICMR said, "India tests 24 people for one positive case, while Japan tests 11.7, Italy 6.7 and US tests 5.3. So, one cannot say that India is testing less."  

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