India’s federal medical research agency on Monday asked state government to stop using coronavirus testing equipment brought from China because of conflicting results.
More than half a million kits for testing for antibodies to coronavirus were ordered from China this month as a way to ramp up India’s screening. But the Indian Council of Medical Research said several states had complained about the quality of the equipment from two firms and these need to be sent back to China.
“ICMR, thereafter, has also evaluated the kits of Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics. The results have shown wide variation in their sensitivity, despite early promise of good performance for surveillance purposes.”
“In view of this, States are advised to stop using these kits procured from above mentioned companies and return them to be sent back to the suppliers,” it said.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has said the monthlong ongoing lockdown has yielded positive results and that the country has managed to save “thousands of lives.”
Modi, who had a videoconference with various heads of the states on Monday, said the impact of the coronavirus, however, will remain visible in the coming months, according to a press statement released by his office.
During the meeting with state heads, Modi advocated for social distancing of at least two yards (6 feet) and the use of face masks as a rapid response to tackle COVID-19.
He said that states should put their efforts of converting hotspots, or red zones, into “orange and thereafter green zones.”
India last week eased the lockdown by allowing shops to reopen and manufacturing and farming activities to resume in rural areas to help millions of poor, daily-wage earners. But the economic costs of the nationwide lockdown continue to mount in a country of 1.3 billion people.
Modi, who put India under a strict lockdown on March 25, did not say if the lockdown restrictions will extend after May 3.
India has confirmed over 27,000 cases of the coronavirus, including 872 deaths.