The rise of the COVID-19 test kit market
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has asserted a tremendous global impact in the past few months. One of the most crucial aspects to monitoring and controlling the spread of the virus is to conduct regular and thorough testing. As a result the COVID-19 detection kits market has gained immense attention as healthcare facilities and frontline workers look for robust testing solutions to detect the virus, with an expected growth rate of 17.3% by 2026.
COVID-19 diagnostic testing is conducted under two approaches, including Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), and Whole Genome Sequencing. While early days of the virus outbreak involved the sequencing approach for early documentation and as a tool for viral discovery, current coronavirus testing is largely conducted via the RT-PCR approach.
Many businesses across the globe have taken on the task of developing efficient coronavirus testing kits. For instance, Meridien Biosciences developed a “Master Mix”, which acts as a foundation for rapid COVID-19 testing. The test kit developed by the company works similarly to those for influenza detection. Once the “Master Mix” is shipped from Germany, the kits are assembled in China. These COVID-19 detection kits can yield results in around 45 to 60 minutes.
Prioritising those at high risk
Studies have revealed that elderly populations as well as those with existing comorbidities have a higher risk of mortality. In light of this, prioritizing testing for older populations is paramount.
Health systems have been advised to provide COVID-19 diagnostic testing kits in settings other than the emergency department as much as possible. They have also been advised to use remote treatment options like telecare to carry out the screening process.
Since access to proper testing for high-risk populations is a significant challenge, many healthcare industry players are coming up with solutions to mitigate this problem. For instance,US-based TRHC (Tabula Rasa HealthCare) decided to provide its PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) partners with COVID-19 detection kits through CareKinesis®, its national PACE pharmacy.
This federal program, which is designed to offer comprehensive social and medical services to people aged 55 years and over, has expanded its remote care capabilities to administer these kits in people’s homes, minimising risk.
Addressing the need for effective testing
Prominent industry players have been working in collaboration with regulatory authorities, implementing strategies to quickly address the demand for effective testing solutions. Mylab Discovery was the first company in India to earn approval for its COVID-19 diagnostic kits. The kits have received CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation), India’s equivalent to the USA’s FDA approval.
PepsiCo India has also been distributing testing kits to sites across the nation. The kits are being purchased and distributed by FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics), supported by PepsiCo’s funding and ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) approval.
Meanwhile, organisations around the world continue working towards finding accurate, fast testing solutions. One of the latest developments is a 20-second saliva test that has just had its first round of field testing among employees of the UK’s Heathrow airport. It uses a digital microscope and AI software to search a mouth swab sample for signs of the virus.