In a twist to the ongoing controversy over the use of rapid antibody test kits for Covid-19 surveillance, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday informed that it may go for ‘Elisa kit’ as now recommended by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), instead of former.
In a statement before Nagpur bench of Bombay high court, government pleader (GP) Sumant Deopujari informed that the state is thinking to go by ICMR’s advisory and would take a policy decision within a couple of days in this regard. He said the government would also come clear on the use of rapid antibody test kits, whose results were found unsatisfactory and their use is put on hold by the ICMR itself after some of the kits supplied by the Chinese firms were found to be faulty in Rajasthan and other states. The GP added that the chief secretary would soon be convening a meeting of all senior officials in this regard.
While adjourning the hearing of a PIL by Citizen Forum for Equality through counsel Tushar Mandlekar, a division bench comprising justices Ravi Deshpande and Amit Borkar granted time to the government to decide in this regard. The petitioner through President Madhukar Kukde had prayed for conducting rapid antibody tests on all front-line workers, including doctors, police, pharmacists, and para-medical staff.
On an HC’s poser, Deopujari, who was accompanied by Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital (IGGMCH) dean, Dr. Ajay Keoliya, informed that the state was bearing entire expenditure of all RT-PCR tests conducted in VRDL centers like at IGGMCH, GMCH, AIIMS, MAFSU, and NEERI. Every RT-PCR test approximately cost around Rs4,500.
Quoting collector Ravindra Thakare’s affidavit, the GP said, the government had twice sanctioned Rs10 lakh each for the police officials for purchasing masks, hand gloves, sanitizers and other necessary equipment required to getting infected from the deadly virus while discharging their duties. “We’ve also started testing police personnel from the containment areas as directed by the HC on a pilot basis and had already tested 81 of which only one was found positive,” he said.
(With inputs from timesofindia)