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Expanded adoption of COVID-19 antibody testing will help test the infection and treat on a timely basis

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Ravi Sinha, Country Director, India & SAARC, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics believes that expanded adoption of COVID-19 antibody testing as per ICMR guidelines will help test and treat the infection on a timely basis to reduce the healthcare burden. In an interaction with Prabhat Prakash, he gives more details of their partnerships with state governments for such sero surveys

How can diagnostic companies such as yours play a proactive role in infectious diseases testing, making it cost-effective and improving accessibility?

Never before in the history of healthcare there has been such high reliance on diagnostics’ results to determine the patient management pathway.  Ortho Clinical Diagnostics as an industry leader is providing the highest standards of quality testing kits because every test is a life. We have continued to serve patients with recently approved US FDA EAU (Emergency Authorization Use) Antibody COVID-19 tests with highest specificity. Expanded adoption of antibody testing as per ICMR guidelines will help us test the infection and treat on a timely basis to reduce the healthcare burden.

Our broad installed base of VITROS analysers across Tier 1 & Tier 2 cities’ hospitals and labs, along with a water-less technology, brings in the accessibility and adaptability of getting the COVID-19 testing for sero-surveillance and convalescent plasma therapy.

Has Ortho Diagnostics partnered with the government for antibody testing? 

We are witnessing various state Governments expressing deep interest in doing the sero-surveys with IgG antibody tests as per ICMR guidelines. We are actively working with multiple government institutes across the country to perform these antibody tests.

Are these tests only being manufactured in the UK facility? What is your current manufacturing capacity? Is there a strategy in place to scale up exponentially if the need arises?

These COVID-19 kits are manufactured at multiple locations, in multiple continents including UK and US. The capacities have been ramped up to meet the growing worldwide demands for current use as well as for future requirements, in case the need arises.

 What is the cost per test? Is Ortho Diagnostics working towards making the tests available for the masses at affordable rates?

The antibody test is more affordable to patients over other methods of testing and we are seeing that the usage and adoption is growing day by day across the nation.

How many testing kits have been made to-date and where have they been distributed?

Millions of tests have been manufactured and delivered worldwide. We have the capacity to do more than 2 million tests in India every month.

With supply chains being affected across the globe how does Ortho Diagnostics effectively manage supply chain and logistics? What precautionary measures are being taken while distribution?

Air cargo movement restrictions have severely impacted supply chain across the globe. Ortho has proactively engaged in building up safety stocks for unforeseen exigencies like flight rescheduling both for in bound and out bound supplies. We have deep networks of distribution warehouses strategically placed across India and thus, continue to serve the patient requirements 24×7.

How do you ensure that your employees are safe from the virus?

We have rolled out a formal training programme to all employees on the use of PPE kits and safe practices to be followed while at work. We are offering full medical support to employees; moral support and empathy from the senior management as they resume work.  We are also encouraging the performance of COVID-19 testing too, as per individual needs.

Currently, India is ranked third globally in the number of active COVID-19 cases. What should India as a nation consider at this moment to get ahead of the virus and defeat it?

India’s strategy of addressing COVID-19 challenge is very inclusive and harnesses the importance of safety measures such as sanitation, wearing of masks and social distancing at individual levels, and includes the test, track, treat strategy by the administration and healthcare systems for the society at large.  As a responsible citizen, each one of us needs to follow the safety measures diligently, to prevent viral transmission. Discipline in following the guidelines is the single most important differentiator to beat the virus.

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