This content is relevant for:Medical Biotechnology / Coronavirus / Healthcare
In the global effort to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, early and reliable diagnosis of infections is a crucial element. This has created major demand for diagnostic tests and related items such as laboratory consumables. A variety of companies in Germany have benefitted from this new demand: from Berlin-based start-up Biotech Rabbit, which manufactures enzymes for PCR tests, to pharmaceutical giant Roche, whose German diagnostics division grew by 60 percent in 2020.
The number of SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests carried out in Germany is set to increase substantially because of a recent change in regulations. As of February 2020, the law now allows the sale of Covid-19 tests to the general public, as long as they meet certain quality standards, are suitable for use by laypeople and received either a CE marking for health, safety, and environmental protection standards or special approval. Possible distributors for these tests include pharmacies and drugstores.
In the days following this development, the first consumer tests received approval from the German Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, and new ones are authorized every week. Manufacturers come from all over the world, and most applied for approval via their German subsidiaries.
Not only consumer test kits, but also point-of-care-diagnostics could soon unfold their full market potential: Germany’s Ministry of Health is currently considering providing two free tests per week for all residents of the country. These could be administered at testing centers, pharmacies or airports. A projected 2 to 2.5 percent of the population could use this service every day, increasing the daily need for antibody tests up to two million.
In order to make point-of-care tests more available for large-scale testing, the German government has earmarked EUR 200 million for investment grants to antibody test production facilities. The initiative covers as much as 30 percent - under certain conditions even 40 percent – of sums invested up to EUR 30 million per applicant.