Chinese embassy says discrimination in India is to blame for inaccurate test kits claim
Published: Apr 28, 2020 10:11 AM

A staff checks the nucleic acid test kit at the plant of Luoyang Ascend Biotechnology Co., Ltd in Luoyang, central China's Henan Province, March 4, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

The Chinese Embassy in India has refuted the claim made by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) that inaccurate rapid COVID-19 test kits were purchased from Chinese firms saying poor storage, transport and testing methods could all result in inaccuracy.

"We are deeply concerned with the evaluation results and the decision made by the Indian Council of Medical Research. China attaches great importance to the quality of exported medical products," the embassy said, noting that it has maintained close contact with the ICMR and the two Chinese companies involved to clarify the situation.

It said China not only sincerely supports India in its fight against COVID-19, but is also taking concrete actions to help.

"The quality of medical products exported from China is prioritized. It is unfair and irresponsible for certain individuals to label Chinese products as 'faulty' and look at issues with preemptive prejudice," it said, expressing hope that India can respect China's goodwill and sincerity, strengthen communication in a timely manner with relevant Chinese companies based on facts, and resolve the situation reasonably and properly.

The comments came as the ICMR recently announced it advised several states to stop using kits purchased from Chinese companies Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics, and to send them back to suppliers. The research group claimed that an evaluation of the test kits revealed a "wide variation in their sensitivity."

The ICMR said the kits were provided with clear instructions that they are to be used only for surveillance purposes.

The embassy said it had learned there are strict requirements for the storage, transportation and use of the rapid COVID-19 antibody test kits, and any improper usage will lead to variation in testing accuracy.

Chinese COVID-19 test kit manufacturer Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech said it was "surprised and disappointed" with the ICMR's decision. "The Wondfo SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test (Lateral Flow Method) was one of the first tests to receive an import license from India and has been validated and approved by the ICMR through the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune," the company told the Global Times.

"We are confident in the quality of our products which meet standards in China and the countries that we are exporting to," it said.

With many countries rushing to purchase medical products from China, the country is supporting export companies with qualifications and credibility, and is providing convenience for production, transport and customs clearance to facilitate foreign procurement and orderly exports to countries including India.

Relevant Chinese manufacturers are working around the clock to provide medical supplies for other countries in their fights against the pandemic and to protect people's lives and health.