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Lijo Jacob Written by Lijo Jacob
on 02 Apr 2020

As the world gears up to battle COVID-19, the importance of diagnostic testing cannot be overstressed. WHO, public health experts, immunologists, and virologists worldwide highlight large-scale testing as one of the most critical steps to combating the disease. Despite the urgent need for diagnostics, countries are facing significant shortages in meeting the demand for testing kits.

Cyient has partnered with Molbio Diagnostics to manufacture COVID-19 testing devices and chips that will help diagnose the disease and enable faster prognosis. Molbio developed the world’s first portable real-time qPCR platform to detect infectious diseases. The company’s point-of-care (PoC) diagnostic platform for tuberculosis testing has received WHO endorsement for high accuracy.

Building on its expertise in micro qPCR technology, Molbio has designed and developed PoC COVID-19 test kits that can give results in 35 minutes, saving critical time. Since the device is portable and battery-operated, the tests can be done anywhere and do not require a sophisticated lab environment. The test is awaiting approval from the Drug Controller General of India after which, it will be ready for launch in the country.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Cyient and are very excited to partner with them in the fight against diseases such as COVID-19. Together we endeavor to ensure that our game-changing Truenat technology reaches the frontline healthcare professionals for rapid and accurate screening at the point of care which is the need of the hour,” says Sriram Natarajan, Founder Director and CEO of Molbio Diagnostics.

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Cyient swiftly scaled-up production to meet the increasing market demand and enable rapid deployment. Our in-depth experience in manufacturing consumable chips and printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) allows us to deliver devices quickly and cost-effectively. To cater to the increased volume of 500,000 blank chips per month, we onboarded additional workforce, doubled our production capacity,  procured automated testing equipment, and qualified new vendors for seamless supply of raw materials. We have also introduced new processes such as the automated glue dispensing technique to attach the sensor to the printed circuit board (PCB) and speed up the production process.

“We are proud to work with Molbio and support their mission to make COVID-19 test kits affordable and accessible to all. Our state-of-the-art manufacturing infrastructure, robust supply chain, and relentless focus on quality are critical to ensure timely delivery of the kits to Molbio. We have established the production lines and have commenced the manufacturing of the blank chips,” says Rajendra Velagapudi, Senior Vice President and CEO, Cyient DLM.

As our teams stay dedicated toward ensuring no disruption in the supply of the devices, keeping them safe is of utmost priority to us. We have established stringent measures, following WHO guidelines, to safeguard the health and safety of our associates. At our manufacturing facility, we have reduced the number of associates per shift and increased the number of shifts so we can effectively implement social distancing. We are providing masks, sanitizers, and other protective equipment to further ensure a safe working environment for our teams. Regularly sanitizing the infrastructure is another preventive step we have established for the increased safety of our associates.

Nations that have effectively contained and managed the spread of COVID-19 have focused significantly on early screening and diagnostics. Through our engagement with Molbio, we aim to enable large-scale diagnostics in India that will eventually contribute to managing the coronavirus outbreak successfully.

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