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COVID-19: BMC Starts Buying RT-PCR Testing Kits As ICMR Stops Supply

As per data provided by the BMC, around 12,000 COVID-19 tests are conducted in Mumbai each day

COVID-19: BMC Starts Buying RT-PCR Testing Kits As ICMR Stops Supply
SHARES

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been sending real-time polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR testing kits to states free of cost since the pandemic began. However, the authority announced in August that it will stop sending RT-PCR test kits in September, leaving the states to procure test kits from their own coffers. It is said that each testing kit costs the state ₹450 on average. 

This move has now come into effect now in the latter part of September as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has reportedly begun the process of buying these test kits. BMC officials have said that the current stock of RT-PCR test kits will last until the end of October. 

“We have initiated the process of buying these test kits. Tenders will be floated to appoint a firm for supply of the kits,” Additional Municipal Commissioner of the BMC, Suresh Kakani said. He added that there are around three to four companies that have been authorized to sell RT-PCR kits.

Also Read - BMC Ramps Up COVID-19 Testing

“It will be based on the requirement but initial quantity could be around 50,000 kits and they can purchase more as and when the requirement increases,” he said when asked about the number of kits expected to be acquired.  

As per data provided by the BMC, around 12,000 COVID-19 tests are conducted in Mumbai each day. Around 70 per cent of these are said to be conducted using the RT-PCR method while the rest account for rapid antigen tests and CT scan tests in some cases.

Also Read - State Government To Look Into Testing Labs Overcharging For HRCT Scanning

The civic body has reportedly conducted a total of 10.57 lakh tests in Mumbai which has returned a positivity rate of 18.8 per cent. Given that the BMC has already faced losses upwards of ₹5,000 crores, this move is expected to hurt the civic body’s finances further. The authorities acquired 50,000 rapid testing kits in August, though most of them were used only on frontline workers.

Studies show that RT-PCR testing is one of the most reliable methods to detect COVID-19. However, this test can usually take 6-8 hours or even more to fetch a result. In contrast, rapid antigen testing can procure a result within 30 minutes, though it’s considered to be less sensitive as it possesses a higher chance of returning a false result.  

Also read - Rapid Antigen Testing Accounts For 31% Of All COVID-19 Tests In Maharashtra

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