650,000 medical kits to fight Covid-19 dispatched from China: Indian envoy

Scientist working in a laboratory | Photo: Shutterstock
India will soon get 650,000 rapid anti-body test kits from China which will aid in quick detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 disease. This comes at a time when the number of positive coronavirus cases in India has crossed the 12,000-mark and the death toll has crossed 400.  

The first lot of Rapid Antibody Tests and RNA Extraction Kits is likely to reach India in a day. In a tweet, India's Ambassador to China, Vikram Misri said the medical kits were dispatched early on Thursday from Guangzhou Airport in southern China.

#IndiaFightsCoronavirus A total of 650,000 kits, including Rapid Antibody Tests and RNA Extraction Kits have been despatched early today from Guangzhou Airport to #India | #2019nCoV #StayHomeSaveLives @MEAIndia @HarshShringla @DrSJaishankar

— Vikram Misri (@VikramMisri) April 16, 2020

Over two million test kits being procured from China will be sent to India in the next 15 days, Misri said. Two major consignments of the medical kits were reported to have been sent to India from China earlier as part of the efforts to step up testing especially in hotspots during the ongoing lockdown in the country.

"I think facilitation of our needs and our requirements in a timely manner, in a smooth manner, on a predictable timeline at prices that are stable and orderly, would be the best signal possible to send for the India-China relationship," Misri said.

On Tuesday, Misri told the media here that India has placed orders to procure 15 million personal protection gear from China for medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients, besides three million testing kits.

The orders are being placed with bonafide firms with the help of the Chinese government. Considering the importance, Misri said the Indian embassy is facilitating commercial procurements besides coordinating flight linkages for their timely arrival in India.

The Rapid Antibody Test Kits deliver results in 15 minutes and work on blood samples instead of nasal swabs to tell whether a patient has ever been exposed to the novel virus. The RNA extraction kit enables the total RNA extraction from tissues. This extracted RNA is a mix of a person's own genetic material and, if present, the coronavirus' RNA.

As its factories resumed operations after over a two-month grim battle against the coronavirus, China is busy tapping into the vast business opportunities of export of key medical goods, especially ventilators and personal protection equipment (PPE), across the world, including India, where both private and government bodies are placing orders for the import of these products. 

As demand for Chinese medical supplies scaled up due to the spread of the virus in several parts of world, China on Wednesday asked all the countries to import these items through reputed Chinese firms cleared by the government and vowed to punish those involved in counterfeit behaviour.

Responding to questions about quality concerns raised by several countries related to medical equipment imports from China, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here on Wednesday that the Chinese government is facilitating the orderly exports.

"We hope foreign buyers can choose products from companies that have been accredited by Chinese regulators with good production credentials," he said.



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