21/04/2020 8:04 PM IST | Updated 21/04/2020 8:39 PM IST

India Sources Rapid Test Kits From South Korea As States Complain Of Faulty China Kits

ICMR has advised states not to use the rapid test kits for the next two days.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
A medical worker takes a sample for antibody test on April 20, 2020 in Kolkata.

The Indian embassy in Seoul has signed an agreement with a South Korean company for supply of 500,000 rapid test kits to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The kits will be delivered to India in four lots and the first batch will reach India on 30 April, a statement from the embassy said. 

The statement also said that India has sourced 450,000 tests (RT-PCR and antibody) from various Korean companies over the last few weeks. 

This comes amid complaints about faulty rapid test kits, procured from China, from states. ICMR on Tuesday advised states not to use them for the next two days, saying it will issue an advisory after their teams carry out field validation of these equipments.

At the daily government briefing on the coronavirus situation in the country, ICMR’s Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar said, “We received complaint from a state yesterday and have so far discussed with three states. We advise states not to use them for the next two days.”

He also said that these kits will be “tested and validated in the field by our teams. We will issue a clear-cut advisory in two days.”

The Rajasthan government on Tuesday stopped using the China-made rapid testing kits for coronavirus over inaccurate results. The state’s health minister Raghu Sharma said the kits gave only 5.4% accurate results against the expectation of 90% accuracy, according to PTI.

He said 168 tests were conducted through rapid testing kits that were also used for testing of patients who have already 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.

Additional chief secretary medical and health Rohit Kumar Singh confirmed the kits are China made.

India had procured around 6.5 lakh rapid test kits from China earlier this month and they were distributed across the country, NDTV reported. 

Several European countries have already rejected China-made equipment and tests. Spain, according to Al-Jazeera, withdrew 58,000 coronavirus test kits purchased from a Chinese company on March 27. The government said the test kits had a mere 30% detection rate. The Chinese embassy in Spain said that the company behind the kits, Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology, did not have an official license from Chinese medical authorities. 

(With PTI inputs)