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Coronavirus pandemic | Thyrocare CEO Velumani says logistics is the biggest challenge for COVID-19 test kit suppliers

Private lab chain Thyrocare has tied up with digital healthcare platform Practo to enable booking of COVID-19 test kits online.

April 01, 2020 / 02:28 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Logistics continues to be the biggest challenge companies face while supplying the testing kits for coronavirus amid the lockdown, said Thyrocare Tech, one of the private labs that have the approval to conduct the COVID-19 tests.

Private lab chain Thyrocare has tied up with digital healthcare platform Practo to enable booking of COVID-19 test kits online. The two have been authorised by the government and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to make the service available.

Read More | Now book a COVID-19 test online via Practo for Rs 4,500

"The problems continue for having swab collection technicians, empowered with training and PPE, reaching to our customers... logistics is the biggest challenge because it is a lockdown," said A Velumani, CMD and CEO of Thyrocare Tech.

Talking about reports of restrictions by the Maharashtra government, Velumani said, “I don’t think the government has put in any restriction, there are a couple of laboratories who did not have stock. Anticipating a stock they were collecting blood or swab, thinking that they would get a kit probably by next 6 hours or 8 hours or 24 hours but unfortunately, since it involves a large amounts of logistics in importing, clearance and the transportation, BMC has told some laboratories to wait till you get inventories.”

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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On pricing, Velumani said, "Pricing wise, I think we have got decent pricing which is capped by the government, I think one should not grumble, it is fair enough to collect that much."

Talking about lack of protective gear for COVID-19 workers, he said, “I must tell you though many might have not liked this lockdown, but that was a brilliant move because supply takes its own time and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) cannot be manufactured overnight though mask can be little faster done, PPE  itself is taking little longer time. Currently, it is slowly easing out, we have got sufficient stock for the next 10 days.”
CNBC-TV18
first published: Apr 1, 2020 02:28 pm

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