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India in the midst of molecular diagnostic revolution with technologies for accurate detection & rapid turnaround

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

India is in the midst of a molecular diagnostic revolution. Now several multiplex tests are available for the diagnosis of both infectious and genetic diseases. The country has come a long way with the real-time reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) technology during the Covid pandemic phase, said Saurabh Gupta, Head of Strategy, Mylab Discovery Solutions.

This market holds considerable promise with ample growth and opportunity to expand.  Everyone thought after the Covid pandemic, the demand for molecular diagnostics would come down drastically. Instead, there is a drastic shift to molecular diagnostics because it is more accurate like for instance in the H1N1 test, detection is precise and treatment access is faster. Also there is a big demand for the fever panel as there is no need to conduct separate tests for diagnosing dengue, malaria and chikungunya. Molecular tests are a game-changer because of adequate infrastructure in place. Therefore, India is in the midst of a molecular diagnostic revolution, Gupta told Pharmabiz.

There are a couple of visible trends. One is that molecular diagnostics will expand not just in clinical applications but also in food & beverage safety and its quality monitoring too. The other is that molecular diagnostics demands considerable automation to achieve seamless integration which is what Mylab is working on to reduce manual errors making it more reliable and efficient, he said.

The focus on sickle cell anemia by the Union government is a big development. We have point-of-care test kit for this which will play a key role for its detection in the country, he added.

Latest developments in the company are the launch of a slew of new products and increase its workforce to 1,000 from the current 350 in the next two years. We will also play a critical role with the recent first Made in India TB Detection Kit which also simultaneously detects multiple drug resistance to rifampicin and isoniazid in single test, he stated.

For the neglected and tropical diseases, we are working with products that will be useful in the market. We have an in-house ‘research impact programme’ for rare diseases. Leishmaniasis or kala azar and filariasis are also part of the research impact programme.’ The former is a group of diseases caused by protozoan parasites from more than 20 Leishmania species. The latter is spread by spread by infected mosquitoes. These dreaded diseases have been prioritized by Mylab and we have a rapid point of care testing device and kit which are under development, said Gupta.
Mylab is making headway in advancing diagnostics in India. Now our research team will be strengthened in the areas of point-of-care and development of devices that can decentralize healthcare diagnostic services from ‘bench to bedside’. Besides for labs, we are looking at total automation of devices. This is because most of the automated devices today still have a lot of manual processes to do leading to errors and related problems, he said.


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