Prof Kanak Kanti Barua, vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), today said that the Gonoshasthaya Kendra-developed rapid test kit is not effective in detecting Covid-19.
He said this to The Daily Star after BSMMU finished the performance trial on the rapid test kit.
The rapid test kit reportedly has been found effective only in 11-40 percent of the cases, that too only during the first two weeks of showing Covid-19 symptoms, said BSMMU in its recommendations released to the media today.
However, it can be used for testing in the places where RT-PCR kit is unavailable and on those who tested negative in RT-PCR test despite having Covid-19 symptoms, reads the recommendation.
The committee headed by Prof Shahina Tabassum of virology department of the medical university, recommended that the antibody kit -- GR-Rapid Dot Blot -- can be used for detecting seroprevalence or the extent of the infection in a population.
"At least 70 percent of the cases can be detected when the kit is used to test those who have already recovered from the infection," BSMMU said.
The kit cannot tell whether the person is currently infected with Covid-19 or not because it is unable to differentiate between the IgM, the antibody created at the start of the infection, and IgG, the antibody created later on, the recommendation added.
Dr Bijon Kumar Sil, leader of the team of scientists who developed the kit, however, said they are yet to receive the report from BSMMU, adding that they would respond to its findings after receiving the copy of the report.
"We are still confident that the kit is highly effective in testing Covid-19. Our position is very clear about it," he told The Daily Star.
Dr Bijon also said Gonoshasthaya Kendra Founder Dr Zafrullah tested positive both by rapid test kit and the RT-PCR kit. Again, when he recovered, the test result was negative on both the test kits, the scientist said.
"We have found similar results in several hundred tests. We have no doubt about effectiveness of our kit," Dr Bijon added.