The pandemic has underscored the need for rapid, accurate and affordable screening and diagnostic tools that are as close to the patient as possible. In the latest issue of Shaastra, I have profiled a clutch of companies that are using a wide range of technologies to come up with solutions. You can read the story here. India definitely needs local solutions. The traditional model of importing high-cost western technology has shown itself for what it is : an expensive, inefficient model that caters to a relatively small private market. Then, for a slew of tests, the mode of fulfillment – through well-capitalised, central/referral labs – also has its limitations as was amply demonstrated during the pandemic. RT-PCR testing for Covid-19 was marked by long wait times for testing and results, a shortage of trained staff and consumables thus constraining efforts to curb spread.
This story looks at companies trying to tackle both kinds of challenges – of the need for local solutions and of bridging the distance between the testing and the patient – at once, and for a range of diseases.. Diagnostics has been an area of under-investment for India but the worm is now turning. The question is how quickly and efficiently it does so.