India may run out of RNA testing kits in about a week, as more than 38,000 samples are being tested every day. Only close to 3 lakh of the kits are now left, as the Central government looks to increase testing to one lakh samples a day.
Earlier, a shortage of the same was reported from Madhya Pradesh, with the state's hardest-hit city -- Indore -- in acute need of the crucial kits.
A source was quoted by The Indian Express as saying that they were looking to acquire three million RNA extraction kits and one million viral transport medium kits. "The problem is that the RT-PCR kits cannot be used without the RNA extraction kits," the source told the new outlet.
The kit extracts the RNA from the novel coronavirus, the composition of which is then compared in RT-PCR tests to identify the virus. One RNA extraction kit is required for each test.
The shortage is likely to throw a wrench in the Centre's plans of ramping up testing. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had earlier issued an advisory to states to identify nodal officers for the procurement of equipment essential for testing. “All labs certified by ICMR will procure VTM & RNA extraction kits through states,” it had said.
The development comes when serological or rapid antibody tests have already been suspended across the country after complaints from several states.