India to import more medical supplies from China
India has decided to continue importing medical supplies from China despite reports of the Rapid Antibody Test kits being faulty.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, in a statement on Thursday said, "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 RTPCR 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," Anurag Srivastava said.
When asked about the Chinese kits failing to test accurately, a source said that the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is still looking into the matter. "They produce certain results under certain conditions. So they are yet to judge results", said the source.
Earlier India Today had reported that the ICMR has been subjecting rapid antibody testing kits from China to rigorous quality checks. For now, the batch of kits that India received was from two Chinese companies Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech (3 lakh kits) and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics (2.5 lakh kits).
Sources said that there are other Chinese companies as well that India is sourcing the kits from and the next batch could have medical supplies from those companies which will also be put through rigorous tests for clearance.
In total, the government of India has placed orders for about 37 lakh rapid antibody testing kits with companies based out of China, South Korea, and Singapore. Out of these orders, only about 7 lakh kits have reached India to date.
But, Chinese companies Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon have received the largest order of 15 lakh rapid antibody testing kits, followed by Maharashtrabased Voxtur BioLimited which bagged an order of 10 lakh kits.
Similarly, Bio Indix from Singapore and SD Biosenzon from South Korea have received orders of 1 lakh kits each from the government of India. The details of the remaining 10 lakh rapid antibody testing kits are yet to be furnished by concerned authorities.
India is not just relying on imports, in a significant development, India is looking at 'make in India' project in collaboration with a South Korean company.
"The Indian subsidiary of a South Korean company has commenced production of Covid-19 rapid anti-body testing kits in its plant in Manesar, Haryana, with a capacity of 5 lakh tests per week. The first batch has already rolled out on April 19. This is an excellent example of our 'Make in India for the world. The company will ramp up production to meet the growing demand in India as well as other parts of the world," said the MEA spokesperson.
Indian Mission has also signed a contract on behalf of the ICMR with another South Korean company to procure and supply 5 lakh Corona Testing Kits.
Apart from these, the spokesperson highlighted there are "six SUV-sized high-speed testing machines, which are in high demand, are being sourced from Roche in USA; our R&D labs are in touch with labs in Israel and Germany which are undertaking cutting edge work."
On the issue of India exporting Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to the rest of the world, there were reports of reduction in demand, however, sources said that there has been no such "reduction".
Anurag Srivastava further said: "We have given clearance to commercial consignments of around 285 million HCQ tablets to 40 countries. Commercial consignments of around 500 million PCM tablets for 60 countries have also been cleared."