Increasing labs, need more testing kits: Maha minister

Increasing labs, need more testing kits: Maharashtra minister

A doctor (R) collects a nasal swab from a woman sitting inside a car at a Drive-thru Collection Point Test Centre during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Mumbai on April 27, 2020. Credit: AFP Photo

Maharashtra Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh on Monday stressed on the need for extra testing kits as the state has the highest number of COVID-19 patients in the country.

Incidentally, the number of cases in the state jumped from 4,666 on April 21 to 8,068 six days later.

Responding to a query on the spike, Deshmukh said, "It is true that the numbers are rising steeply. We want more kits to test as many people as possible for coronavirus. There are 40 labs in the state and we are increasing it to 60. Then we can increase the number of tests from the 7,000 we do on an average daily."

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Speaking on faulty rapid test kits, which has been a bane for many states in the fight against the outbreak, Deshmukh said, "Maharashtra has also received some faulty kits but the numbers are not as high as Gujarat."

The Indian Council of Medical Research has said that the rapid antibody blood test kits must be used only for surveillance purpose and also asked states to not use kits provided by two Chinese firms as "results have shown wide variation in sensitivity".