India received 5 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. Gangakhedkar explained.
Earlier in the day sources confirmed that a large consignment of testing kits for the novel coronavirus pandemic were scheduled to reach India from China on Thursday.
According to available information, 5.5 lakh Rapid Antibody Testing Kits sourced from Guangzhou Wondfo and Zhuhai Livzon and 1 lakh RNA Extraction Kits from MGI Shenzhen were among the consignment.
The consignment is part of the total order of 15 million personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and 1.5 million rapid testing kits that India had ordered from China. The Hindu had reported earlier that India had called upon China to fulfil those orders, amid concerns over tightened regulations on exporting such equipment by China after several Western countries complained over quality of exports.
Vikram Misri, India’s ambassador to China said in an online interaction with reporters on Tuesday that deliveries of the medical supplies for India would be stretched until the end of April. Around six consignments of vital medical supplies are expected to reach India from China during the next fortnight.
(With PTI inputs)