By Economic Times – China pledges help on Covid kits, govt waits for ICMR views The ICMR “clarified” to top government officials on Tuesday that these kits can show positive reports only after 7 days (time taken by a body to produce detectable antibodies). ICMR officials have also said the rapid tests are new to India and their use and efficacy will be gauged over time.Last Updated: Apr 23, 2020, 10.10 AM ISTAntibody tests have limited utility and are for surveillance and tracking infection trends.(This story originally appeared in on Apr 23, 2020)NEW DELHI: Amid concerns raised in India about the quality of rapid test kits recently purchased from China, the Chinese embassy said it will keep “close communication” with Indian agencies and provide them necessary assistance, seeking to reassure opinion here that any issues will be resolved.
Government sources here said they will wait to hear from ICMR on whether the kits were faulty before they take any decision to pursue the matter with Beijing. The government is treading cautiously on the issue as it remains in the process of acquiring vital medical equipment from China in its fight against Covid-19. As of Wednesday, it appeared that the issue may have been more about protocols and designated use.
The ICMR “clarified” to top government officials on Tuesday that these kits can show positive reports only after 7 days (time taken by a body to produce detectable antibodies). ICMR officials have also said the rapid tests are new to India and their use and efficacy will be gauged over time. Top government sources also said ICMR was directly involved in the purchase.
As WHO says, antibody tests have limited utility and are for surveillance and tracking infection trends, not for clinical diagnosis because they cannot quickly diagnose acute infection to inform actions needed to determine the treatment required.
“Noticed reports concerning rapid testing kits. #China attaches great importance to the quality of exported medical products. Will keep close communication with #Indian concerned agency and provide necessary assistance,” tweeted the Chinese embassy spokesperson.
Some of these test kits have run into problems even in the US, though. According to a report in New York Times, US authorities, after having ordered many of those kits from China, have alerted that some of the exporting firms might be making false claims about their products.
Official sources here said there was no question of sourcing rapid test kits or other equipment from firms that are not certified exporters. The ICMR demands were taken up by the foreign ministry through its mission in Beijing after which the Chinese government recommended “qualified” companies. The Chinese embassy had also earlier said it wanted foreign buyers to choose products certified by Chinese regulators and with “production qualifications” when importing relevant products. This has been followed by the Indian mission.
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