Faulty rapid antigen kits declared 25 students in Odisha as Covid-19 positive
- None of the students had any symptoms of Covid-19 and when their samples were again subjected to RT-PCR tests, the results were negative.
In a first of its kind incident in Odisha, the state government on Tuesday said that the 25 engineering students of a technology university were incorrectly termed positive for Covid-19 due to faulty antigen testing kits.
On Saturday, 25 students of Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology in Burla town of Sambalpur district had tested positive for Covid-19 following which the district administration had declared all the 11 hostels of VSSUT at Burla as micro-containment zones.
"Those 25 students, who had tested positive for Covid, were actually not positive for the virus. As none of the students had any symptoms, their samples were again subjected to RT-PCR tests and the results turned out to be negative. The rapid antigen testing kits were checked and were found to be faulty," said additional chief secretary of health and family welfare department PK Mohapatra.
Mohapatra said the Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited has been asked to withdraw the kits and issue a show cause to the vendor.
The Covid scare started after a student of the university had gone to Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research for treatment of his fractured legs. When he was screened for Covid-19, he was found to be positive. Later the swab samples of those who had come in contact with him were tested through the same batch of kits and they were too found to be positive.
The Sambalpur Municipal Corporation had also declared shutdown in the university campus and its adjacent areas. Besides, the examinations scheduled to be held on March 1 in the university too were postponed and classes were held online.
Till February 9 this year, Odisha had conducted over 75.79 lakh Covid tests of which 79.5 per cent were through Rapid Antigen tests. Only Bihar and Telangana had more percentage of the tests through Rapid Antigen tests than Odisha. Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan have carried out more than 98 per cent of the tests through the more reliable RT-PCR method.