Consumerization has reached lab diagnostics.

written byJanne Koskinen and Julie Nuttens

posted onNovember 7, 2022

Have you thought about how deep COVID-19 crisis has transformed the lab diagnostic market? Consumers have been self-testing to limit the pandemic and pressure on health care. As a result, they have taken some ownership of lab diagnostics. The diagnostic industry has to adjust to this new trend and introduce appropriate solutions and services.

Home testing became the new normal.

Consumerization is the reorientation of product and service to the end user as an individual consumer, in contrast with an earlier era of only organization-oriented offerings (designed solely for business-to-business/-government sales).

Long ago there was one computer or phone per town, then one per company, soon one per every household and in a fraction of time each and every individual was carrying at least one device combining both. As a result of the pandemic, rapid home use SARS-CoV-2 tests are now available everywhere. Most people in industrialized countries have used an over-the-counter test. But they are not optimal.

Testing for several pathogens at once is the future.

Rapid COVID-19 test often returns a negative result despite the patient is sick because other pathogens can lead to same flu-like symptoms. Quite frustrating! Healthcare professionals have understood this issue, and often prefer to use multianalyte (also called syndromic) tests which detect multiple pathogens (such as influenza and RS virus) from a single swab sample. Those tests will most likely identify at once the pathogen that is causing the infection, guiding the physician in prescribing the best treatment. Until very recently, they were only available for hospitalized patients or for a considerable amount of money.

Antigen testing is the way to go

The science has showed that compared to the tests used in special laboratories (qRT-PCR), mariPOC COVID-19 test, and antigen tests in general, are almost fail-proof at detecting contagious and diseased individuals. Rapid tests are just the right tool to rule in a disease or assess infectiousness. They’re also cheaper and much easier to use.

We recently reported of two new scientific publications in high impact journals. The studies evaluated automated mariPOC COVID-19 rapid tests against central laboratory tests. The accuracy of mariPOC tests in detecting contagious and diseased individuals was extremely high, close to 100%.

Professional diagnostics will become affordable and accessible

mariPOC enables healthcare operators to make professional testing more accessible for consumers via innovative service channels, such as pharmacies.

One significant route to make professional testing more accessible is through pharmacies. They often offer simple and affordable health services, such as measuring of blood pressure, glucose testing, vaccinations, and, more recently, infection diagnostics. Testing of acute infections outside of labs has become possible by means of conventional rapid test technology and, more recently, by modern mariPOC tests that can detect multiple pathogens at once.

Consumerization is a megatrend and it has now reached infection testing.

Our vision from day one has been that accurate multianalyte tests, like mariPOC, should be available to everybody to detect the true cause of the disease at once and before any medical decisions. This enables the optimal use of virus drugs for influenza and COVID-19 and avoiding the use of unnecessary antibiotics.

Evidence based medicine

Taken together all the information about the negative side effects of antibiotics, it is just unethical to prescribe them for children when they’re not necessary. So let’s stop guessing and prescribing antibiotics “just in case”, whenever reasonably possible.