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COVID-19 Task Force on Questionable Accuracy of Rapid Tests

11 May 2020 16:16 WIB

Health personnel conduct COVID-19 rapid tests on residents caught during curfew at the Surabaya Police Headquarters on Sunday, May 3, 2020. ANTARA/Didik Suhartono

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - COVID-19 Task Force Chief Doni Monardo on Monday admitted that the accuracy of rapid tests was low in detecting COVID-19 patients compared to swab tests, which the government was relying on. He said the government did not use the results of rapid test kits as a reference.

His statement comes in response to Tempo Magazine’s latest investigation in collaboration with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) that finds the accuracy of Biozek-produced rapid test kits is less than favorable. 

“The accuracy of rapid tests is indeed low, which is why the WHO has not made rapid tests as a reference. The government is still prioritizing PCR swab tests,” said Doni Monardo in today’s teleconference.

Moreover, one of the users of the questionable rapid test kits is the Presidential Palace as its security protocol uses the test kits produced by Biozek to test guests arriving at the palace. 

Citing the latest investigation report, Kimia Farma has imported 300,000 rapid test kits made by Dutch company Biozek, which the investigation found were produced in China by Hangzhou AllTest Biotech Co Ltd, which was later rebranded by Inzek International Trading BV in Apeldoorn as Biozek. 

Both AllTest and Inzek claimed the rapid test kits had an accuracy level of 92.9 percent to detect the immunoglobulin M (IgM) and was accurate up to 98.6 percent to detect immunoglobulin G (IgG). 

However, a number of independent research found otherwise as corroborated by Oxford University’s Professor Sir John Bell. Stringent testing on these COVID-19 rapid test kits found that their accuracy levels were lower than expected. The UK has even canceled their order for millions of China-made test kits due to the study report. 

DEWI NURITA 



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