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Press Releases

A reliable RTPCR kit for home is coming soon

17 Dec 2021

Press Release on Sriram Natarajan session

Though currently the government allows only qualified labs and personnel to use RT-PCR kits for identifying diseases, the medical devices industry is working on kits that could provide accurate results to home users. According to Mr Sriram Natarajan, CEO, Molbio Diagnostics Pvt Ltd, a maker of portable diagnostics, the healthcare sector is in for a radical change.

Speaking at the 51st LeaderSpeak session of All India Management Association (AIMA), Mr Natarajan said that covid has already transformed Indian healthcare industry and the future belongs to integrated digital healthcare. He argued that digitalization alone will make universal healthcare a reality, which is neither possible nor viable through a physical healthcare infrastructure. A mobile, cloud and AI driven healthcare network can serve even the remote places that are without physical facilities, doctors and radiologists, he said.

Mr Shrinivas Dempo, Senior Vice President, AIMA and Chairman – Dempo Group of Companies, moderated the discussion with Mr Natarajan and Ms Rekha Sethi, Director General, AIMA anchored the session.

Mr Natarajan welcomed the government's effort to create a digital healthcare architecture similar to the digital payment architecture of UPI. The new system will keep a record of everyone's healthcare history, which will be available to various healthcare providers, he mentioned.

However, digitalization of healthcare in India has its challenges, he admitted. For him, the biggest challenge is good and reliable data connectivity. He said that at some locations, even the GSM connectivity is not available. However, he believes that the work on development of connected healthcare devices and the improvement of connectivity will happen parallelly.

The remote and mobile healthcare will largely complement the hospitals and diagnostic lab chains instead of disrupting those, according to Mr Natarajan. The incumbents are the customers of the portable and connected medical device makers, he pointed out.

On the issue of affordability of the digital and connected healthcare equipment, Mr Natarajan said that technology can lower the costs up to a point, beyond which the government has to step in to ensure an affordability level that works for everyone. "The government has an obligation to provide healthcare," he said.

On scalability of portable healthcare, Mr Natarajan said that the innovative devices have made it possible to do mass screening for diseases. He mentioned that Molbio Diagnostics developed a mobile testing kit for covid in 2020, which allowed hundreds of people to be tested each day without having to go to a lab. Moreover, he said that his company's mobile diagnostic platform can test for more than 30 diseases, including TB and covid.

Commenting on the government's decision to mandatorily test covid patients for TB and TB patients for covid, Mr Natarajan said that the two diseases have similar symptoms and one disease can lead to the other.

Talking about the impact of covid on Indian healthcare industry, Mr Natarajan pointed out that today India can supply half the world's requirement of RT-PCR kits whereas it hardly produced those kits before covid. Molbio itself exports these kits to 40 countries, he mentioned.

According to Mr Natarajan, India imported 85% of its medical devices before covid and now that number has gone down to 60%. "The speed and scale of innovations during the covid period were unimaginable before covid," he said. He believes that 80% of the India's medical devices will be made locally in the future.

The session was also streamed live on AIMA's social media channels and nearly 500 people attended the online session.

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