- 20 May 2021
The use of Rapid testing kits, which were supposed to speed up the screening and detection of suspected COVID-19 cases has been stopped by the Rajasthan government on Tuesday after most of the tested results were found invalid and inaccurate. Rajasthan’s Health Minister Mr. Raghu Sharma said that the rapid testing kits gave only 5.4% accurate results against the expected accuracy of 90 percent and therefore these rapid testing kits were of no benefit.
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Rajasthan was the first state to start using rapid testing kits in hotspots, which was started from Jaipur. However, it is not a confirmatory test and the patients who are found to be positive in rapid testing have to be go through PCR based tests for confirmation.
These kits were also used on already tested patients who were found positive in PCR tests, but their result was also negative. The issue was raised with the State Government by the doctors.
The Government set up a committee comprising heads of medicine and microbiology departments of Sawai Man Singh government hospital to check the accuracy of rapid testing kits. It was found that merely 5.4% of the test results were accurate.
The Health Minister, Raghu Sharma said that “As per the advice of committee, we have stopped testing from the rapid testing kits. We have written to the ICMR about it and their response is awaited”. He said
The Minister added that 168 tests were conducted using the rapid testing kits and “If the ICMR’s response comes in our favour, the kits could be returned”.
The response from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will be vital, since most of the states are adopting rapid testing kits for fast screening of COVID-19 suspects in order to curb the spread of disease.
Later in the day, head of epedimiology and communicable diseases at ICMR Mr.Raman R Gangakhedkar in the daily briefing on COVID-19 said that "We got complaint from one state. So we spoke to three states and found that a lot of variation is there in accuracy of test results of positive samples, in some places it is 6 percent while in other it is 71 percent.
He added that this is not a good thing when there is such a huge variation, we need to investigate further. He said ICMR will be sending 8 experts teams to examine faulty test kits. Hence all states are requested not to use the rapid testing kits on the field for next two days. ICMR also added that it will raise the issue with manufacturing companies if the results continue to be faulty.