Srinagar, Apr 28: India rejecting the Chinese COVID-19 rapid testing kits after finding them substandard has once again made it difficult for people to get themselves tested for the deadly virus.
An analyst while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “The Chinese kits which were procured could have helped in detecting the asymptomatic patients but these kits proved faulty. Now the people will have to wait for the kits which are being manufactured locally. Health Ministry has stated that locally made kits will be available in the market by May.”
On Monday Union Health Ministry had defended its decision to buy the Chinese testing kits as a “fire-fighting” measure and had assured people that not a single rupee would be wasted. “The ICMR has not made any payment whatsoever in respect of these supplies. Because of the due process followed (not going for procurement with 100 per cent advance amount), the GoI does not stand to lose a single rupee,” the Union Health Ministry had said.
The controversy arose after a legal dispute in Delhi High Court between the distributor and importer of COVID-19 rapid test kits being shipped from China unearthed massive profiteering and over-pricing in kits sold to ICMR. Delhi High Court single bench of Justice Najmi Waziri disallowed a 145 per cent mark-up from landed price of Rs 245 to ICMR’s purchase price of Rs 600 per test and the price was slashed by 33 per cent from Rs 600 to Rs 400 per kit.
The analyst said, “More than price what created ripples was that these kits were not accurate. The patients, who were tested using these kits, didn’t show satisfactory results.”
It’s in place to mention here that soon after these kits were procured the ICMR asked the States not to use them. “The main idea to go for rapid testing was aborted. Now many local companies are manufacturing these kits and one doesn’t know how reliable these would be. These kits are likely to be priced between Rs 500/ to Rs 700/ but these have to first come in the market. Availability of rapid testing kits will make the process of testing easy as the people can do their tests on their own,” the analyst added.
An observer said, “Experts are of the opinion that testing is the only way as India has got a huge population and it won’t be possible for the government to test everyone. If the rapid testing kits are made available it can help in restoring the normalcy at least to some extent. We cannot wait for China something has to come from within the country which can be relied upon. Chinese testing kits for time being stand ruled out.”