Kerala’s plan to procure antibody test kits from HLL goes awry

On April 26, HLL qualified as the lowest bidder (L1),” said an officer of the KMSCL.

Published: 01st May 2020 06:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st May 2020 06:58 AM   |  A+A-

Rapid test kits

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government’s plan to procure antibody (IgM, IgG)- based rapid test kit for diagnosis of Covid-19, has gone awry as the product provided by HLL Lifecare Ltd, under Ministry of Health, failed in the quality test. It was in a test conducted by the State Public Health Lab (SPHL) that HLL’s Makesure kit failed to meet the specifications. Meanwhile, HLL authorities said that they are yet to receive a formal intimation from the authorities concerned regarding the failed quality test.

“On April 21 a tender was invited by the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd for the antibody-based rapid tests. 30 bidders attended the tender and the technical committee selected 11 offers from 10 bidders for the price bid opening. On April 26, HLL qualified as the lowest bidder (L1),” said an officer of the KMSCL.

When contacted, SPHL director Dr Sunija S, said that a report was submitted to principal secretary (health) Rajan Khobragade on Wednesday and it will be inappropriate to comment further on the same.

An HLL representative said, “We are yet to receive the report prepared by the SPHL. We are also not aware of what’s wrong with it. Only after going through the report that a formal comment could be made on this.” According to HLL, the Makesure Kit developed by it had the approval of the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, and Indian Council for Medical Research. They also added that testing of the kit showed 85 percent and above accuracy.

‘Makesure’ kit is a one-step antibody detection kit which checks for Covid-19 in human serum, plasma or whole blood obtained from a person with signs and symptoms of respiratory infection. The kit manufactured at HLL’s rapid diagnostic kit manufacturing facility in Manesar in Haryana costs below Rs 400.“We don’t know what went wrong. We had requested the health department to send the kit for quality testing at NIV Alappuzha also,” said an officer of HLL.

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