Providing testing kits to top diagnostics labs in the private and government sector, GeneStore has successfully delivered a high benefit-to-cost ratio of biological data for effective disease control at a population scale. Anubhav Anusha, Global CEO and R&D Head, GeneStore explains more on their success mantra

What makes GeneStore’s RT-PCR testing kits for COVID different for the rest of the kits available in the market?

The GeneStore’s RT PCR testing kit has several significant advantages including the ability to deliver results within sixty minutes. Additionally, it is uniquely equipped to provide sensitive results even when using direct biological samples without extracting/purifying viral RNA.  

Cost effectiveness is the biggest differentiating factor. How have you derived at a cost of Rs 199 per test? How is this cost-differentiator strategy beneficial to your company? 

Our ability to provide a Rs 199 per test is powered by significant cost saving synergies enabled by a complete reverse integration into our manufacturing processes, leaving aside plasticware, we manufacture all our raw materials at our France based manufacturing facility.

This costing structure is in line with our global mission to make diagnostic testing for infectious diseases cost-effective and affordable to all. This pricing structure has resonated extremely well in India where the government mandated pricing pressures which are causing private diagnostic laboratories to reimagine their costing structures.

How many hospitals/diagnostics centres in India are your customers?

We are the primary testing kit providers for all of the largest diagnostic testing laboratories in India ranging from Thyrocare, SRL, Dr Lal Pathlabs and many more. Approximately, 40 per cent of all samples being tested in the private sector are run on GeneStore kits.

There is a lot of debate over the efficacy of Rapid Antibody tests vis-à-vis RT-PCR tests. What are your thoughts on the efficacy of these tests?

Both testing platforms have their advantages with respect to the stage of the infection. RAPID antibody tests are more sensitive towards the later part of the infection cycle where antibody production by the immune system peaks. However, this testing methodology is less impactful in containing the COVID‐19 pandemic, since the major cause behind the spread of the COVID‐19 is the release of the virus in the asymptomatic stage of the infection [it is at this stage that RT PCR efficacy is several magnitudes superior compared to RAPID tests.

Are you working with the government for supply of testing kits, research etc. Since your company’s focuses also primarily on genomic research?

GeneStore supplies to several public hospital networks across Europe and South America. In India, we are presently engaging with the government to enable affordable point of care RT PCR based testing across several settings including aviation, industrial zones, railway stations with the singular objective of opening the Indian economy.

Your business goal has been to deliver a high benefit to cost ratio of biological data for effective disease control at a population scale. Can you tell us how do you utilise the data that you are currently generating through COVID testing, for effective COVID 19 control?

A high benefit to cost ratio of biological data in this ongoing pandemic will enable the creation of COVID‐19 free ecosystems. Cost-effective diagnostic data points are extremely relevant when aviation companies decide to absorb the cost of diagnostic testing within the ticketing fare. Furthermore, if businesses are to become operational again, creating a COVID‐19 environment can be created cost-effectively at the expense of employers.

Lastly, availability of cost-effective testing solutions certainly enables more effective contact tracing solutions from the point of view of public health management.

How do you hope to see areas of research progress on infectious diseases over the coming months?

At GeneStore, research programs are presently focused on enabling a DIY testing model based on molecular biology techniques. The future of laboratory based real-time PCR based assays is geared for a transformation, where citizens will be able to diagnose everything from the common flu to sexually transmitted diseases from the comfort of their homes with the pin point precision of real-time PCR assays.

Do you think there is a need to develop new mathematical models using AI in order to foster genetic research in India for infectious diseases in future?

AI enabled healthcare solutions are critical towards the allowing governments in modelling/predicting infection hotspots. India is uniquely positioned in the coming decade to lead this integration between healthcare and AI.

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