There has been a sharp increase in demand for on-site testing for Covid-19 at workplaces ever since the second wave began in March 2021. Around 112 companies in and around Pune have approached Mylab Discovery Solutions, a molecular biology company, for workplace testing.
Mylab MD Hasmukh Rawal said there was a quadrupling of demand from the industry as companies have started looking for on-site RT-PCR testing. Rawal said they will be deploying two of their mobile testing vans equipped with their compact automated testing machines to conduct RT-PCR tests on sites. The third mobile testing van has been deployed at the international airport at Mumbai.
The second Covid-19 wave has led to the Maharashtra government mandating RT-PCR tests for the industrial workforce once every 15 days. Though companies voice their opposition to this, with the state government not relenting, they are now scrambling to comply with these orders.
These companies are looking at on-site collection and testing options to deal with the logistical challenges of testing their entire workforce.
Mylab has launched a corporate testing service and already started working with 25 companies with their testing partners, Saurabh Gupta, head of strategy at Mylab, said. The companies include Hyundai, ITC, Varroc Polymer, ArcelorMittal and Advik.
“Our programme will help companies focus on their core business while we take care of the testing and help them comply,” Gupta said.
Mylab’s mobile testing labs will move from one company to the other and collect around 1,000 samples and provide results on the same day, he added.
Manually done tests take time and they can at best handle between 200 and 400 samples a day and these samples have to be physically carried to the main testing centres all of which takes time and delays the results, he said.
According to Gupta, Mylab’s solution will free up labs to test the more urgent and serious cases and avoid the load on these labs.
Mylab had run a pilot by setting up a mobile testing lab at the Mumbai International Airport to offer RT-PCR tests with the capacity to process 500-1,000 samples per day on-site and provide results within three-five hours.
Mylab has deployed its Compact XL robotic machine that automates the molecular diagnostic tests at the mobile lab and speeds up the RT-PCR tests. The cartridge-based machine can carry out RNA/DNA-based tests for Covid-19 RT-PCR test using various kinds of samples, including plasma, tissue, sputum and swab. The machine needs a space of 4×3 ft and runs with one technician. The lab is mounted on a smaller commercial vehicle and can be deployed anywhere.