Impact of COVID-19 on several industries in context with the PCR Industry

Author(s): Smita Nerkar, Trupti Wadekar , Onkar Sumant


Coronavirus (COVID-19) was recognized in late December in Hubei province of Wuhan city in China. This highly contagious disease, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is transmitted from humans to humans. After the first case in Wuhan, the disease rapidly spread to other parts of the globe. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) made an assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. Thus, social-distancing became an important measure to stop the spread of this disease. Various countries across the world adopted nationwide lockdowns. This led to a completely new scenario for the world, where every business in each industry faced new challenges and witnessed new opportunities. Similarly, the PCR market has also witnessed newer growth opportunities.

Currently, COVID-19 pandemic is expecting the long-expected surge in PCR services across the globe. A PCR test is recently used for COVID-19 virus to diagnosis people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2. Nowadays, the only diagnosis of COVID-19 can be done by the PCR because it’s the most accurate and reliable test. PCR was introduced in the 1980s to defeat the difficulties that emerge with small DNA samples during sequencing in the biotechnology research laboratory, it becomes essential for genetic cloning, gene therapy, gene sequencing, and measurement of gene expression. PCR has many advantages in biotechnology and it has multiple versions of PCR – including qPCR, ddPCR, RT-PCR, qRT-PCR and ePCR. The demand for PCR services is expected to increase with the surge in number of cases of COVID-19 along with rise in the practice of diagnostic services worldwide. Thus, the pandemic has highlighted the advantages of PCR for diagnosis in patient care allowing to monitor at-risk patients safely. Progressions in PCR have been empowered by agreeing advancements in technology; such as, the implementation of microfluidic systems leading to the development of an entirely new family of devices flow-through miniaturized PCR. Recently, PCR has become well known to the public, just because of COVID-19 pandemic and its diagnosis.

There are two type of testing methods and process for the detection of the virus such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The first test is based on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, which refers to an ELISA, to detect the production of antibodies by the body in response to the virus and can be used to detect whether an individual has previously been infected. The second method is an antigen based test which requires PCR to amplify or make copies of the viral RNA obtained from patient samples. This method is vital for the early detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection and this method is used by the research labs and hospital for diagnosis of COVID-19. This test takes several hours to complete the process. Many PCR manufacturing companies are developing novel PCR methods to overcome these barriers and challenges. The significance of testing for SARS-CoV-2 has been underscored since the start of the pandemic. Research labs and hospitals around the world have been developing PCR tests with the aim of fast, accurate SARS-CoV-2 testing.

Recently, in this year, an American company ChromaCode, Inc. (CA, U.S.) launched a PCR i.e., HDPCR SARS-CoV-2, it is a high-throughput real-time PCR assay for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 from patient nasopharyngeal swab samples. Researchers at the University of Innsbruck collaborated with a company named Sinsoma GmbH (Vols, Austria) and developed a novel PCR for the testing of SARS-CoV-2. The test combines capillary electrophoresis, reagents, and end point PCR; also a Japanese company named Shimadzu Corporation (Kyoto, Japan) introduced the Detection Kit of COVID-19 Coronavirus. This Detection Kit offers rapid test analysis within an hour.

There are three steps to the COVID-19 PCR test—(1) sample collection, (2) extraction, and (3) PCR. Sample is collected from the respiratory organ such as nostrils and nasopharyngeal swabs that go further into the nasal cavity to collect the material found in the nose. In a laboratory, researcher receives the sample that is extracted and isolates genetic material of the virus from the sample that may present. In the PCR process, which is also known as thermal cycle, special chemicals and a PCR machines are used and cause a reaction that makes millions of copies of the genetic material.

The major key players operating in the Digital PCR market include Bio-Rad laboratories, Inc., 4basebio AG, Combinati, Inc., Fluidigm Corporation, JN Medsys, Merck KGaA, Qiagen N.V., Sysmex Corporation, Stilla Technologies, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. and others. Majority of these players have focused their efforts toward the development of PCR based COVID-19 diagnostic tests during this pandemic. Therefore, upsurge in COVID-19 cases along with growth in prevalence of chronic lifestyle disorders are anticipated to fuel the growth of the PCR industry.

However, the adoption rate of PCR is impacted due to data security, malpractices, reimbursement issues, and upfront costs for installing a PCR platform within every lab and hospital.

Impact of COVID-19 on several industries in context with the PCR market

Medical facilities incorporating PCR witnessed an increase in their revenue amid the pandemic phase. The pandemic has a positive impact on the PCR market due to increase in demand for clinical diagnostic segment of the market with rise in number of cases of COVID-19. The patients suffering from the symptoms of COVID-19 are advised by healthcare specialists to undergo a diagnostic test. This directly leads to higher demand for diagnostic services. Therefore, diagnostics laboratories industry has been witnessing substantial growth during this pandemic.

Expectations from PCR industry

Several nations across the world were initially credited for their response against first outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020. The surge in number of infections with subsequent wave from July 2020, driven by alarming growth in viral community transmissions, has suggestively highlighted the uncertainty of the control over COVID-19 that was accomplished over past few months. The existing scenario evidently states that COVID-19 is expected to continue to limit several aspects of the healthcare sector in the future, until an effective treatment and diagnosis can be made accessible to the population on a larger scale.

Accordingly, the impact of pandemic on healthcare system is possibly expected to be deeper and long lasting. The nationwide lockdowns, government regulations, and continuous increase in infection rate across numerous countries have created a widespread financial impact on diagnosis. Thus, the uptake of PCR services is on rise and is anticipated to continue to increase post-pandemic. In such scenario, stakeholders from the PCR industry are expected to contribute toward effective management of production and supply chain of PCR related products to ensure and maintain adequate testing capacities across the world. With such scenario, various companies and hospitals have increased their focus on PCR diagnosis related offerings  and improved their management for the same. This has integrated the smaller as well as larger hospitals in capturing additional number of patients for robust care offerings.

Post COVID Scenario

Despite its significance over the past year, PCR progressions are not restricted to COVID-19 testing. These are also used for other diagnosis and research work. The technology is experiencing continuous expansion and improvement. Researchers and scientists are endeavouring to decrease the expense and intricacy of these reactions. For example, a Biotechnologist wanted to explore triplicate PCR, the PCR is important and relevant to play an important role within academics, laboratories, clinics, and hospitals.

Recent news in the PCR industry during the pandemic

PCR companies around the world are actively participating and taking efforts toward providing better healthcare and diagnostic solutions to the patients during the pandemic.

In May 2020, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. received an approval of SARS-CoV-2 droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) test kit. The kit has been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The SARS-CoV-2 ddPCR test runs on Bio-Rad’s QX200 and QXDx ddPCR systems.

In October 2019, Bio-Rad launched dd-Check STEC Solution for detecting virulence genes from Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). The kit, which harnesses Bio-Rad’s ddPCR technology, determines the coexistence of the STEC virulence genes in a single bacterium without additional confirmatory steps, providing rapid and reliable confirmation of presence of pathogenic STEC and returning results in a few hours.

Veröffentlicht von:

Allied Market Research

Viman Nagar Pune
411016 pune
Telefon: 9049962983

Pressefach öffnen

10 Besucher, davon 1 Aufrufe heute