Private labs are gearing up to carry out coronavirus tests as kit-makers work overtime to ensure timely delivery.
Mylab and Altona Diagnostics India are the two suppliers of the testing kits. Mylab is hoping to ship out its first set of kits today.
They are targeting producing 150 kits, which translates to 15,000 tests in batch sizes of 100 tests per day, in the next two days
Mylab's director Dr Gautam Wankhede says they are in a position to start supplying because they already have "the raw material and been in the molecular diagnostics manufacturing for the last three to four years."
"We have already been approved for other sensitive kits for HIV, and have been supplying to leading hospitals. We have the manufacturing in place with well set protocols. Having known the RNA sequence that needed to be targeted for this virus, we started designing our primers and probes (essential components of a kit)," Wankhede said.
Majority of all the components used in Mylab kit is sourced from India with "very little dependence on foreign suppliers," he added. The foreign suppliers did not include China, he quipped.
Mylab will supply the kits at around Rs 1,500 per test. Labs will add costs of protective gear and other items on this amount. But, the final price to consumer cannot exceed the government-fixed cap of Rs 4,500.
Meanwhile, German company Altona Diagnostics has applied for an import licence from the Drug Controller General of India. They hopes to get it this week and start supplying to the ICMR-affiliated and private labs from early next week.
"These are German products, and totally imported. They are not made locally," says Tarun Jain, General Manager, Altona Diagnostics India.
"Initially, we will be importing 100 kits (translating to 9,600 tests) in a week and gradually increase the capacity 2x and 3x in coming weeks," says Jain.
Without spelling out the price, he indicated that the kits would be competitively priced. Private labs will need to incur several costs other than the kits, Jain said. So they will try and offer it at reasonable rates.