COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in India, but is COVID testing picking up. Here's what the COVID-19 testing is looking like in the country.
At this point in time, COVID-19 tests have risen slightly. There may be a huge spike in terms of percentage, but on an absolute basis the numbers are less. The testing as a whole has come down by one-fourth from the earlier peak. For example, if 40,000 RT-PCR tests were being done for COVID-19 in Mumbai, it is now around 10,000 tests at their peak. There are multiple other companies doing COVID-19 testing, as compared to just the few that were in the earlier waves and hence the spread is much more as well.
The COVID-19 revenue is going to be capped because of the fact that there is more competition, separately, there is a cap on COVID-19 test prices. Also blood investigations, which are related to COVID-19 has also reduced due to milder symptoms. So people don't need to do multiple other tests, they just need to do a COVID-19 test and probably just stay at home. Also people are now undertaking home tests at this point in time.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18 Shankha Banerjee, CEO at Suburban Diagnostic, said, "It is a marginal rise that we see. Not too much in terms of testing as of now."
He added, "About 250 tests more per day, is what we are seeing, which is very marginal. Obviously, for us right now, as a business, we are much more focused on the non-COVID part of the business. So, that is where the whole focus of the organisation is right now."
Home testing has started picking up pace at the end of wave two. During wave three, the sale of home testing kits rose to lakhs per month and has now fallen to thousands after wave three subsided, and it has now risen again by around 40 to 50 percent on a month-on-month basis.
On airport COVID-19 testing, Banerjee said, “As of now, the airport testing is off, most of the requirements have come down. There is no sense in really doing that scale of testing that we were doing at the airport earlier. So that is currently not on right now for us.”
On competition, he said, “Competition isn't such a huge thing when it comes to COVID testing, because COVID testing has a lot to do with the demand. Right now as you pointed out home tests are also now becoming very popular. So from that point of view, it is not really so much competition, rather than you know, the whole demand for RT-PCR, which has come down.”
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