The healthcare diagnostics landscape is constantly evolving due to the innovations in healthcare, such as technologically advanced kits, smartphone apps, lab-on-a-chip, biosensors, wearable devices, and the development of technological infrastructure that offer a closer connection to the patient.
In recent years, companies have started developing advanced rapid diagnostic kits that can yield faster results and higher accuracy than traditional kits. These kits enable caregivers to make crucial medical decisions in a short period. For instance, recently, companies have been developing ultra-fast PCR kits to minimize the time required to generate test results. Some of the recent developments related to ultra-fast PCR kits are listed below:
- In June 2021, Thermo Fisher Scientific (U.S.) a new, innovative, and portable Accula SARS-CoV-2 Test that offers gold-standard Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) detection of SARS-CoV-2 in a point-of-care format. The testing duration of the Accula SARS-CoV-2 Test is 30 mins, whereas the conventional RT PCR method takes around 2–3 days. The product uses a cartridge (lateral flow technology), which can be directly used to analyze samples, unlike conventional RT PCR tests where nucleic acid extraction takes a longer duration.
- In February 2021, Eurofins Technologies (Luxembourg) launched the GSD NovaPrime SARS-CoV-2 Direct RT-PCR kit intended for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 from human nasopharyngeal swabs.
- Genesystem (South Korea) recently launched the ultra-fast PCR kits GENECHECKER UF-300 real-time PCR system to detect SARS-CoV-2 infections. This ultra-fast PCR kit received CE mark approval in April 2020.
- In March 2020, Molecular Biology Systems, B.V. (Netherlands) developed NEXTGENPCR SARS-CoV-2, an ultra-fast PCR with an amplification time of only 8 minutes.
- In March 2020, BioMérieux S.A. received FDA emergency use authorization for the BIOFIRE COVID-19 test, a rapid test that can detect SARS-CoV-2 infection in approximately 45 minutes from a nasopharyngeal swab. The BioFire COVID-19 Test is a nested multiplexed RT-PCR test intended for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. This test is not affected by different SARS-CoV-2 variants such as alpha, beta, and 501.V2 variants.
In a study conducted by Health Europa in 2019 to understand the use of digital technology to support point-of-care diagnostics and treatment in rural and resource-limited areas, it was found that the integration of digital technology, which includes smartphone apps, internet of things (IoT) technologies and machine learning systems into clinical and ambulatory settings improved the ability of doctors and physicians to reach an initial diagnosis.
In addition, digitalizing diagnostic services help document and analyze patient data and test results, which further minimizes human error and makes treatment and care pathways more consistent. Due to this reason, more and more healthcare providers worldwide are adopting digitally compatible diagnostic systems and devices to store patient data and instantly view a patient’s medical history. These technological innovations play a crucial role in emergency departments in providing better inpatient and outpatient services at hospitals to prevent the death or serious impairment of patients’ health.
Overcrowding in emergency departments is a widely recognized problem that has arisen for several reasons, including the rising aging population and large referrals from primary care. Adoption of rapid diagnostics in emergency departments is constantly increasing for clinical decision-making in the process of diagnosis, treatment choice and monitoring, and prognosis, as well as for operational decision making and resource utilization to minimize the problem of overcrowding. The growing admissions in emergency departments worldwide further create demand for rapid diagnostic kits. For instance, in October 2019, the U.K. recorded 563,079 emergency admissions, 3.1% higher than the same month in the year 2018. Also, in 2019 the country recorded a 3.1% growth in emergency admission between August and October, and over 4.6% growth was reported between September and October.
Thus, the constant rise in the number of emergency admissions and people visiting emergency departments creates the need for rapid decision making, which further increases the demand for rapid diagnostic kits used in emergency care. Therefore, the continuous technological innovations in rapid diagnostics are expected to further drive the growth of the rapid diagnostics market globally.