The Indian Council of Medical Research – country’s nodal body in the fight against coronavirus – has asked all the states not to use the rapid antibody test for COVID-19 for two days.

In its order, ICMR said, it would investigate the issue of faulty rapid testing kits and would “definitely not ignore this defect”.

“You all know that Rapid Test Kits were distributed to all states. One state said there are inaccuracies in these test kits. We confirmed this with three states and found that the findings were true to an extent. This is not a good sign. We are working on it,” the ICMR’s Raman R Gangakhedkar told reporters at the daily news briefing.

The medical body said in the next two days, they will send representatives to all states where the rapid test kits are being used “and will bring the samples and test here”.

“Till then, we advise all states not to use this. In two days, we will be in a position to give a detailed report on this. If the batch of rapid test kits is found faulty, we will ask that company to replace all kits,” said Dr Gangakhedkar, who is the head of epidemiology at the ICMR.

Meanwhile, Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health said, “61 additional districts from 23 States/UT have not reported any fresh cases in last 14 days. 4 new districts have been included in the list — Latur, Osmanabad, Hingoli and Washim in Maharashtra.”

“Till now, there are 18601 positive cases. So far, 3252 people have recovered including 705 people who recovered yesterday. This takes our recovery percentage to 17.48%,” he added.

“We have issued detailed guidelines to all states that while we focus on COVID-19, all other services need to be provided, be it for dialysis, HIV/cancer treatments etc. At the same time required infection management prevention should be in place,” he said.

During the daily media briefing, ICMR said, “4,49,810 samples have been tested so far. 35,852 samples were tested yesterday, of which 29,776 samples were tested in 201 ICMR network labs and remaining 6,076 samples were tested in 86 private labs.”

“It is a new disease, in the last 3 and half months science has progressed and developed PCR tests, 5 vaccines have gone into human trial phase out of 70 vaccine candidates. It has never happened before in case of any other disease,” R Gangakhedkar, ICMR said.

According to reports, the rapid tests use blood to determine whether the body has developed antibodies for coronavirus. It is the final evidence that a person is infected and works even for people who are asymptomatic.

But the test is not likely to work in the window period between infection and the body’s development of antibodies.