Use of COVID-19 testing kits brought from China stopped – MoH taken to task

There is still confusion concerning the mechanism adopted by Ministry of Health in Kuwait to ensure the validity and effectiveness of the medical equipment and supplies imported from China, prompting the need to pose this legitimate question: Does the ministry examine these equipment and materials before and after importing them?, reports Al- Seyassah/Arab Times daily.

This issue comes to light following the move taken by the Canadian Ministry of Health which withdrew from its market large quantities of rapid testing kits of COVID-19 imported from China after discovering flaw in its sterilization and presence of contaminants.

In this regard, informed sources from Kuwait’s health sector revealed that the use of rapid testing kits for diagnosing COVID-19 has been suspended due to suspicion of the effectiveness of these kits, which were procured in large quantities from China by Ministry of Health.

They said the use of these kits have been suspended especially in residential areas after discovering the incapability of these kits to test for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The sources explained that the emphasis on the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in the residential areas came after discovering hundreds of COVID-19 cases among the workers of cooperative societies in these residential areas, especially Khaldiya Cooperative Society where initial rapid tests revealed 11 employees of the cooperative society were infected.

However, another official of the cooperative society tested positive few days later despite having tested negative in the initial rapid test. The Preventive Health Department of Ministry of Health was prompted to retest all employees of the cooperative society using PCR tests. The results showed 111 employees were infected.

This led the ministry to redo the tests conducted in other cooperative societies where more COVID-19 cases were found. As of last week, 1,065 cases of COVID-19 have been registered, and most of those infected are employees of cooperative societies.

Due to the inaccurate detection of COVID-19 using the rapid testing kit in hand as well as the popular pressure not to use these kits on Kuwaitis in the residential areas, Ministry of Health has been prompted to recommend swab testing of nose/pharynx only in the mobile testing survey especially in populated areas where the mass testing began two days ago such as Khaldiya and Adailiya areas.

The sources explained that the preventive teams, during the field survey of active monitoring in the endemic places, have been relying on the rapid testing kits to discover antibodies.

When the tests resulted positive, those people were called back to conduct PCR tests as a second stage of the testing. They would then be referred for institutional quarantine until the test results are out.

Recently, Radio Canada announced that the Canadian Health Authority last April withdrew 380,000 rapid testing kits for COVID-19 (swabs) due to contamination concerns.

The radio reported that the Canadian province of New Brunswick had received 6,400 unused testing kits on April 11. The company responsible for importing these kits to Canada “ESBE Scientific” recalled them due to concerns about the sterization of the testing kits. The Canadian Ministry of Health affirmed that the company “ESBE” is committed to taking proper action and replacing the product, in coordination with the Chinese manufacturer “Yancheng Rongtai Labware Co” in this regard

Source : Arab Times

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