Despite reports that India received faulty Rapid Antibody Test kits from China, the government has decided to continue importing medical supplies from the country. The Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday that around 20 more flights are expected to bring in supplies from China.
MEA spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, said in a statement, "In the past two weeks, around two dozen flights departed for India from five cities in China carrying nearly 400 tonnes of medical supplies, including RT-PCR test kits, Rapid Antibody Tests, PPE kits, thermometers etc. Around 20 more flights are expected to bring supplies from China in the coming days, and this is likely to be stepped up considerably in the next few months as our procurement efforts gain momentum."
A source told India Today that Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is still examining the faulty test kits. "They produce certain results under certain conditions. So they are yet to judge results," said the source.
Sources say that the batch India received was from two Chinese companies, Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech that provided 3 lakh kits and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics that provided 2.5 lakh kits. The next batch will reportedly come from other companies that India is sourcing from. Those kits will also be put under rigorous tests for clearance.
So far, the government has placed orders for 37 lakh rapid antibody testing kits from companies in China, South Korea and Singapore. Only about 7 lakh kits have reached India till now. Wondfo and Livzon bagged the highest number of orders, followed by a Maharashtra-based company Voxtur BioLimited that bagged an order of 10 lakh kits. India is also looking at a 'Make in India' project in collaboration with a South Korean company. Indian Mission has also signed a contract on behalf of ICMR with a South Korean company to procure 5 lakh coronavirus testing kits.
The Indian government is also sourcing "six SUV-sized high speed testing machines" from Roche in the US.
Speaking about the export of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the MEA spokesperson said that India gifted 5 million HCQ tablets to neighbouring countries and the IOR, Africa, Latin America, Central Asia, Eurasia and WANA regions. "We are also providing 1.32 million paracetamol tablets to our neighbouring and other partner countries," he said.
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