TheNFAPost Podcast

Bengaluru: When Covid-19 pandemic hit our country badly, it took a while for diagnostic companies to understand the situation and scale up RT-PCR diagnostic kits. Apart from these kits, India was also importing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for Infection Control. Domestic manufacturers were struggling during the initial stage, but slowly started ramping up the production, but quality issues hampered the sale. But now India is in a position to export PPE Kits.

Thanks to Atmanirbhar Bharat, domestic manufacturers, especially in the biotechnology sector, have scaled up in the last few months, and all the key players in the healthcare sector have come together during this difficult time. Panelists at the Atmanirbhar Bharat-NBRIC (National Biomedical Resource Indigenisation Consortium) session at the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020 discussed in detail about the biopharma industry and the role of indigenous companies during this time of crisis.

One of the panelists, Syngene International CEO Mahesh Bhalgat explained how difficult it was for biopharma and diagnostics companies during the initial period, and how approvals took time from the government side. “Putting all pieces together was a humongous task,” he said.

Another panelist MicroGO LLP Founder Rachna Dave spoke about the need for awareness about hygiene among the community. “Basic hand hygiene and hygiene on surfaces are very important but the majority of them don’t have any awareness about it. Prevention is more important than cure and now we have realised how important it is to make hand hygiene as a habit.”

MicroGO LLP was established in May 2016. It is an R & D based startup that focuses on designing delivery systems to mitigate microbes with focus on Health and Hygiene. The company was started with 8 people and in the last six months, the total strength has been increased to 25. 

Panelists pointed out that companies did not expect such greater challenge, but now have taken steps for scalability.

Huwei Diagnostics Director Shesheer Kumar said it was important to train at the end-user level on handling kits, in order to avoid contamination.  “Apart from scalability, we also need to focus on quality.”

Panellists said that by end of this year there will be an end-to-end indigenous platform for RT-PCR kits. All components will be domestically manufactured, and users should buy and prefer indigenous products, they said.

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