Global companies extend a hand with 1 million Covid-19 test kits

Mumbai: At least four multinational manufacturers of Covid-19 test kits are gearing up to supply more than a million diagnostic kits to India, as the country looks to ramp up testing for the novel coronavirus.

The US-based Thermo Fisher Scientific, Germany’s Siemens and Altona, and South Korea’s Seegene are all expected to start supplying Covid-19 test kits this week, people aware of the development told ET.

Siemens said it will make nearly 100,000 tests available in India as early as Friday. In the first lot, it will provide 30,000-40,000 tests to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for free testing under Siemens Fight Covid-19 initiative, a company spokesperson told ET.

So far India’s testing numbers is low compared to many other countries including South Korea, the US and United Kingdom. The government’s efforts to scale it up by allowing 51 private labs to do the test hit a roadblock due to limited availability of kits for the RT-PCR tests.

Thermo Fisher has also said it is working closely with the Indian government as well as private testing laboratories to support scale up testing. The company said it has ramped up its efforts to produce these reagents to cater to the growing requirement of conducting more tests as situation evolves.

Seegene is expected to start supply of about one million kits to India by end of this week, said a person working to bring the South Korean firm’s Covid-19 test kits to the country.

“There were earlier issues with cargo movement, but we have sorted that and now hoping to bring our first batch of kits in next few days,” the person said on condition of anonymity.

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