Medgate Today, December 2021: Timely and targeted diagnosis holds the key to developing disease prevention programs and providing optimal treatment
What are the key leanings in the COVID era?
Diagnostics is the need of the hour - The pandemic has profoundly raised awareness about the true value of diagnostics and its indispensable role in disease prevention, monitoring and management. Today, every person recognizes that timely and targeted diagnosis holds the key to developing disease prevention programs and providing optimal treatment. Advanced diagnostic solutions and strong healthcare systems can enable patients and clinicians to make important decisions earlier and more accurately. This can further help reduce hospitalization, enable targeted treatment strategies and improve chronic patient management. As a country we need to focus more on preventive care, as it is not just better, but also cheaper to prevent, than to cure. And this would mean providing free diagnostic tests for each citizen of India, at least once a year.
Collaboration - The pandemic has also shown the importance of collaboration, between the government and industry, between healthcare workers and regulatory authorities. It has led to critical policy transformations that have accelerated the government’s impetus on Making in India. The decision to set up medtech parks, for example, can help build stronger, sustainable healthcare systems and make available low cost testing solutions.
Faster adoption of newer technologies - Technological advancements are driving patient care. Superior diagnostic technologies such as molecular and Nex-Gen Sequencing are witnessing fast-paced growth for infectious diseases. Transasia is already working on developing point-of-care diagnostic tests for other body fluids, like saliva, making it convenient for end-users. Besides this, Transasia is also working on developing new technologies for other infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis, TB, etc.
Adoption of digital technology - The pandemic has given an impetus to the adoption of digital technology for better clinical outcomes. Latest developments in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), are contributing to digitization, moving diagnostics in the direction of full automation. Telepathology and telemedicine have made it easier for patients to consult Doctors anywhere, at anytime. With the introduction of the Digital Health Records Program the government too has made a positive move towards creating digital health awareness. At Transasia we are continually looking for ways to optimize how we work to improve patient care. We have developed customized plug-in modules for labs to maintain digital health records and generate patient reports faster.
Manufacturing in India for affordable healthcare - The pandemic has led to a strong realization that only ‘Make in India’ can meet the needs for affordable healthcare. At Transasia, we continue to further expand our manufacturing base. During the complete lockdown, we set-up our fifth manufacturing facility at AMTZ, Vizag the largest in Asia for COVID-19 testing solutions. And just recently, we rolled out the first batch of Erba EM 200, fully automated clinical chemistry analyzers, from this facility to meet the growing demand for a wide range of biochemistry tests from laboratories across the country.
Reaching out to those in need - 2021 continued to be a challenging year encouraging many corporates to extend their helping hand to patients and frontline workers. In what has been the biggest humanitarian effort in the history of the company, Transasia continues to arrange to provide free of charge BiPAP machines, cell counters, automated biochemistry analyzers, coagulation analyzers, ESR analyzers, urine chemistry analyzers and oxygen concentrators to state governments to aid various COVID-dedicated hospitals all over the country, especially in rural hospitals.
What are the key initiatives and launches in last 2 years?
Right at the start of the pandemic, the R&D teams of Transasia-Erba group based in India, USA and UK collaborated to fast-track the development of COVID testing solutions in order to offer a complete portfolio for COVID-19 testing and monitoring. The first kit to be introduced was the ErbaLisa COVID-19 IgG ELISA for surveillance and epidemiological studies. This was followed by the launch of the ErbaMDx COVID-19 RT- PCR kit with five times greater sensitivity to detect even low viral load. Further, Transasia has also developed the rapid antigen test kit for COVID-19.
Additionally, there has been a growing demand for tests to monitor other critical parameters during COVID-19. Transasia scaled-up the production and availability of test kits for various parameters such as D Dimer, CRP, Ferritin and LDH and the biochemistry, hematology and coagulation analyzers to meet the growing demand.
Besides this, Transasia recently introduced ErbaLisa HCV Gen 4 Ag+Ab, India’s first and only indigenously developed 4th generation ELISA assay for detection of Hepatitis C Virus. It is intended for early detection of Hepatitis C infection. With early detection, there is a much higher chance of curing it.
Currently majority of pathology labs in India perform HCV testing based on 3rd generation assays that detect antibodies against the infection only. Though this has been the current method, 4th generation assay offers additional advantages that result in early and more accurate detection of the HCV infection.
Transasia also introduced the ErbaQik rapid test kit for four critical infections namely HIV, HBsAg, HCV and Syphilis. These kits provide results in 20 minutes and have been approved by National Institute of Biologicals(NIB), Pune.
Please address various breakthroughs & outlook of IVD & Diagnostics markets?
As mentioned earlier, the COVID pandemic has brought diagnostics into focus. According to industry reports, the Indian healthcare industry is projected to reach the USD 372 bn mark by 2022, and the diagnostic market alone is anticipated to grow to USD 32 bn by the end of 2022.
Various trends are contributing to this growth. Greater awareness among patients is leading to them being more aware about their health conditions and opting for preventive diagnostics. Patients are better informed about the different methods of testing, and significance of vital parameters such as CRP, D Dimer and Ferritin among others to monitor disease severity.
Growing awareness has led to the opening of new avenues. The use of mobile-based health monitoring systems and small hand-held devices is increasing exponentially. Point-of-care testing is gaining popularity as this technology is convenient, gives faster results, and is cost-effective.