Maharashtra received 12.50 lakh sub-standard RT-PCR Covid-19 testing kits from GCC Biotech Ltd, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Tuesday, while adding that legal action would be initiated against the private company. Addressing reporters in Jalna, Tope said that the National Institute of Virology (NIV), a unit of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), had discovered that the quality of the RT-PCR kits was “not up to the mark”.
Tope said that it was noticed that the positivity rate was low during testing by the GCC Biotech-supplied kits. Subsequently, a committee comprising NIV scientists was constituted to probe the matter, the minister said. Notably, the RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test is believed to be more reliable than the rapid antigen diagnostic test in the detection of Covid-19.
“The state received 12.50 lakh sub-standard RT-PCR kits used for COVID-19 determination. The supplier company is GCC Biotech Ltd. “The National Institute of Virology submitted a report saying the quality of these kits were not up to the mark and that they were sub-standard,” Tope said.
He added that the state government has ordered laboratories to halt employing these kits until further instructions. He said NIV kits would be utilised so as to ensure that the number of daily tests is not impacted.
“It is necessary to blacklist the company, which will face legal action as well,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, the new coronavirus cases in Maharastra stayed below 10,000 on the second consecutive day on Tuesday. With 187 deaths, the tally went up to 40,701, a health official said. A total of 15,356 patients were discharged, pushing the recoveries to 12,97,252. The state now has 2,05,415 active coronavirus cases. Mumbai city, with 1,325 new infections, saw its tally climb to 2,32,391, while the fatality count rose to 9,507, the health department said. The Mumbai division, which comprises Mumbai city and its satellite towns, logged 2,660 more new infections, taking the total count to 5,35,214. A total of 17,060 people have succumbed to the disease so far in the region, the health official added.