In Conversation With Neeraj Gupta, Founder, And CEO Of Genes2Me Pvt Ltd.

People have become aware of COVID Antibodies/Antigen Test and the COVID Monitoring Profile test.

1. How do you think the pandemic has affected the diagnostic business in India and worldwide?

Response: The diagnostic sector has evolved over the past year due to the pandemic. Previously, we used to visit the diagnostic centers for our annual health check-ups. But with the advent of the pandemic, the diagnostic sector in India and worldwide played a crucial role in individuals' lives.

RTPCR tests have become the common talking term among people. People have also become aware of COVID Antibodies/Antigen Test and the COVID Monitoring Profile test. In order to cater to the huge health requirements of RTPCR testing and other diagnostic tests for COVID-19, numerous laboratories have developed RTPCR and automated RNA Extraction platforms. We are also seeing numerous laboratories expanding their portfolio and venturing into IVD kit manufacturing. Making healthcare affordable & accessible to all and quality reports should be the major focus for new players of this industry.

2. What has been your take on the changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the diagnostics sector regarding technologies and market strategies?

Response: Over the past year, many diagnostic labs in India have been expanding their infrastructure due to the surge in demand. The healthcare industry has now moved beyond the four walls of hospitals and has become flexible. People now want healthcare from the comfort of their homes. Home diagnostics has been a saviour to many and positive experiences have brought in a new paradigm shift in our country. Whether it's a COVID test or chronic medical conditions like thyroid and diabetes, people want complete health management at their convenience.

I see these changes in the positive direction for the overall diagnostic sector. Before the pandemic, home diagnostics was at a nascent stage, and molecular diagnostics was not fully harnessed. But due to the pandemic, we have seen unprecedented growth in the diagnostic sector. More companies have entered, new technological advancements are being made, and infrastructure is being set up, which will eventually benefit the people in years to come. We still need to expand reach to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities where advanced diagnostics tests are not accessible to the public. Public Private Partnership and schemes like Ayushman Bharat or NHPS have tremendous growth opportunities. However, this will depend to a great extent on the state and central government’s willingness to work with the private players and develop a healthy India.

3. How Genes2me is helping consumers or businesses in the pandemic?

Response: Genes2Me has been working immensely hard to deliver top-notch services to the people. We are India's largest manufacturer of premium quality IVD kits for COVID-19 detection in a quick turnaround time. These kits include RNA Extraction Kits, VTM Kit, NGS Kits, Real-Time PCR Kits, and Multiplexed Genotyping assays for COVID-19.

Without any compromise in accuracy, these IVD kits have proven to be highly sensitive with the capability of delivering faster results. The ViralDtect-II Real-Time PCR Kit for COVID-19 is the first "Made In India" Real-Time PCR Kit. It is a game-changer because of its superior coverage of 3 genes specific to SARS-COV-2 and shorter run time which is less than an hour. Also, our team has been working tirelessly and has delivered more than 42 million COVID-19 testing kits to date.

Also, keeping in with the demand in the second wave and probability of the third wave, we have scaled our manufacturing facility from 9million per month to 6 million per week.Genes2Me is also committed to continuously deliver innovative and scientific solutions such as a much-needed Unique Mutation Classifier assay for SARS-COV-2 strain that can rapidly differentiate 40 variants between 16 SARS-CoV-2 strains, enabling quick genetic screening of large sections of the population.

4. How do you think AI and machine learning are driving the diagnostic and healthcare sector in these tough times?

Response: AI and machine learning can provide us with unprecedented insights into diagnostics, care processes, treatment variability, and patient outcomes. AI-based software can tell whether a patient has a certain disease even before their symptoms appear. AI-driven software can be used to accurately spot signs of a certain disease in medical images such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Using these advanced technologies, doctors can diagnose patients more accurately and prescribe the most precise treatment. Machine learning allows us to develop models that help associate a broad range of variables with a disease. It can study physiological data, environmental influences, and genetic factors enabling practitioners to diagnose diseases early and more effectively.

Genes2Me is aggressively working to optimize these technologies. Based on our expertise in Genomics and access to advanced technologies, we have been able to generate several assays for Infectious diseases, Oncology, and Reproductive Health in India. In addition, with great investment in our R&D, we have developed diagnostics solutions for nucleic acid testing along with next-generation sequencing reagents for genome sequencing.

5. As we enter into the third wave of Covid, what are the future plans of the company, and how prepared are you for the upcoming challenges?

Response: We tackled the second COVID wave efficiently with quick test results without compromising our genetic solutions. Considering the third COVID wave, we have ramped up COVID-19 testing facilities by installing more infrastructure, hiring and training more human resources to ensure smooth functioning. Our advanced high throughput Real-Time PCR testing at Gurgaon, can effectively conduct 8K-10K tests per day. I am proud to say that it is Northern India’s largest single facility to test this much of samples in a day. We have also introduced various testing options based on our customer conveniences, including home collection, walk-in kiosks, drive-throughs and antigen testing kits. In addition, we have streamlined our logistics to cope up with the sudden demands and speed up the mitigating response to a crisis.

Right now, we aim to save lives through accurate diagnostics by providing quality services in quick turn - around time. Exemplary services and innovation have been the pillars of our organization, and we are continuing to focus on it.

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