In the wake of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) asking the state governments to return the rapid antibody testing kits procured from China over the inaccuracy, Wondfo Biotech(China-based biotech company) hit back the accusations within 24 hours. Claiming that the variations in results could be due to the timing of the tests as it is an important factor in determining accuracy, the company stated that it is unfair and irresponsible for certain individuals and organisations to label Chinese products as faulty.
Addressing the issue, Ji Rong, Spokesperson and Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in India, stated that China is deeply concerned with the evaluation results and the Indian Council of Medical Research’s decision. “The antibody rapid test kits had obtained the certification from the National Medical Products Administration of China (NMPA), and that they meet the quality standards of China,” the embassy added. Ji Rong then stated that the Indian side would have respected China’s goodwill and sincerity and resolve it reasonably and properly rather making it an issue.
While questioning India on the handling of the kits, the Chinese embassy also reminded New Delhi of the help being extended by Beijing in handling the coronavirus crisis. Wondfo Biotech also clearly stated that rapid antibody test kits should only be used for surveillance purposes instead of replacing the RT-PCR test to diagnose and confirm the cases.
Meanwhile, the pricing of these kits has also turned into a contentious debate. The Indian Government has said that it has not lost any money in the purchase of rapid test kits. In an importer-distributor dispute ruled on April 24, the Delhi High Court said the rapid test kits should not be sold beyond Rs 400 inclusive of GST. It is also interesting to note that the exporter/supplier to ICMR will receive only Rs 11.25 crore of the Rs 30 crore to be paid by ICMR for 5 lakh test kits.