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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

China ‘deeply concerned’ about ICMR’s decision to not use its COVID-19 test kits

The ICMR on Monday asked states and union territories to stop using the test kits procured from the Chinese companies Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics due to “wide variations in their sensitivity”.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | April 28, 2020 1:46:54 pm
pakistan governor covid positive, pakistan coronavirus cases, imran khan, indian express India had procured around 500,000 rapid antibody test kits from the two Chinese firms nearly two weeks back and they were distributed to several states reporting rising cases of the coronavirus infection. (Express photo by Prashant Nadkar)

A day after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) asked all states to return the rapid test kits procured from two Chinese companies, China Tuesday said it was “deeply concerned” over the evaluation result of the kits and added that it is “unfair and irresponsible for certain individuals” to label Chinese products as ‘faulty’.

The ICMR on Monday asked states and union territories to stop using the test kits procured from the Chinese companies Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics due to “wide variations in their sensitivity”.

“We are deeply concerned with the evaluation results and the decision made by the Indian Council of Medical Research. China attaches great importance to the quality of exported medical products,” PTI quoted Chinese embassy Spokeperson Ji Rong as saying.

She also said it is “unfair and irresponsible for certain individuals to label Chinese products as ‘faulty’ and look at the issues with preemptive prejudice”. Ji, however, did not clarify who are the individuals she was referring to.

India had procured around 500,000 rapid antibody test kits from the two Chinese firms nearly two weeks back and they were distributed to several states reporting rising cases of the coronavirus infection. The kits were to be used only for surveillance and not for diagnosis, but that too stands suspended now following complaints from several states.

Facing questions on the pricing of these kits, the ICMR also issued a clarification stating that it has “not made any payment whatsoever”, and the “Government of India does not stand to lose a single rupee”.

Ji said the Chinese Embassy has maintained close contact with the ICMR and the two Chinese companies to find out the “real situation”. “The COVID-19 antibody rapid test kits produced by these two Chinese companies have been exported to and well recognised in many countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America,” Ji said.

Explained: Why rapid tests are off, again

“We have also learned that there are strict requirements for the storage, transportation and use of COVID-19 antibody rapid test kits. Any operation which is not carried out by professionals in accordance with the product specifications will lead to the testing accuracy variations,” she added.

The spokesperson hoped that India would respect “China’s goodwill and sincerity, strengthen communication timely with relevant Chinese companies based on facts, and resolve it reasonably and properly”.

“Viruses are common enemy of mankind. Only by working together, can we win this battle against the epidemic. Following India’s epidemic situation, China has been feeling the same, shared its experiences in epidemic prevention, control and treatment, and donated medical materials to India,” Ji said.

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