India COVID-19 Testing Kits to Increase Amidst MyLab-Serum Deal

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As India faces a dearth of testing kits for Coronavirus, given it’s population of 1.3 Billion citizens, Pune-based molecular diagnostics company Mylab Discovery Solutions has signed a deal with Serum Institute of India and AP Globale to increase production of COVID-19 testing kits and to expand its solutions.

The new venture will bring financial assistance for Mylab which claims that they will be able to increase the quantity to 2 Million lakh test kits from the current 0.15 Million within just ten days.

WHO also advocates widespread testing. Containment is possible only with aggressive testing and that is why South Korea has been able to contain the spread of COVID-19, as pointed out by Hasmukh Raval, Managing Director of Mylab Discovery Solutions.

Mylab is the first Indian company to get commercial approval for its Mylab PathoDetect COVID-19 qualitative PCR kit. Testing is the first line of defence and the company is working tirelessly and racing against time to produce as many kits as possible, along with using robotics/automation to it’s advantage of speed, at its facility in Pune.

Mylab has released multiple batches of the COVID-19 testing kits to the Government as well as private labs across the country. There are two South Korean companies and one German company supplying material for these kits to India.

“The shortage of testing kits will come to an end in a month or two as we ramp up production of the COVID-19 testing kits from 0.15 Million to 2 Million tests a week, said Adar Poonawalla, CEO and ED of Serum Institute. “The investment towards Mylab will enable them to build their infrastructure and expand their capabilities further. Mylabs and their team have shown exceptional innovative capabilities when they were able to develop a time-saving testing kit within six weeks of its outbreak and the company has a variety of similar innovation-driven projects which will help bring drastic improvements in the health care sector . Global innovation is the need of the hour to curb this pandemic that has affected millions across the world. The need for the maintenance and manufacturing of medical and health care equipment at the pace required to keep the numbers at bay has never been more important. ” he added.

Raval mentioned that as they go for expansion they will need partners and Serum Institute’s experience in operating on scale will be useful to Mylab. Also, Serum’s presence in more than 170 countries and its understanding of global regulations will be useful as Mylab aspires to reach global markets. The funds invested will be used for not only scaling up the production of Covid-19 testing kits but also expansion of molecular diagnostic solutions and this is long-term strategic investments. But for now, the focus would be to take capacity to 40 lakh units per week and make sufficient to meet the demands for testing in India.

Abhijit Pawar is the Chairman, AP Globale, which has been mentoring the company. Pawar will be joining the Mylab Board.

“We are continuously working with all the testing labs to predict the demand and schedule the supplies of the testing kits. We are letting them know of supply schedules ahead of time,” said Sujit Jain, advisor and mentor on corporate strategy, Mylab Discovery Solutions.

“Molecular testing is the gold standard for testing most diseases but is expensive and has been out of reach for Indians but we want it to be accessible to all Indians. Mylab’s innovation and technology has enabled it to offer these kits at one fourth the price set for these tests in India, which is currently at Rs 4,500. The company was able to develop the kits and get approval from ICMR and validation from the National Institute of Virology in record time. But, this was possible only because the company invested in R&D and struggled for four and a half years to get its ID-NAT test (for HIV screening of blood by blood banks and hospitals before blood transfusion) approved. So, it was best positioned to work on the Covid-19 test ” mentioned Raval.

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