Coronavirus outbreak: ‘Collaboration necessary for scaling at earliest,’ says Mylab MD Hasmukh Rawal

Sunil Pradhan
Thursday, 2 April 2020

Pune’s Mylab Discovery Solutions has partnered with Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla and AP Globale’s Chairman Abhijit Pawar to scale-up production of the test kits. 

Pune’s Mylab Discovery Solutions is the first Indian company to get commercial approval for the novel coronavirus test kits in India with 100 per cent concordance results. The lab has partnered with Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla and AP Globale’s Chairman Abhijit Pawar to scale-up production of the test kits. 

The pandemic has infected almost a million people globally, and the death toll has surpassed 50,000. The positive cases in India continue to rise and have crossed the 2,300-mark with 68 fatalities. 

Sharing some insights on the strategic partnership, Mylab’s Managing Director Hasmukh Rawal spoke to Sakal Times in the importance of the collaboration and the way ahead.

You have partnered with Chairman of AP Globale (APG), MD - Sakal Media Group Abhijit Pawar and Serum India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla to scale. Please share some insights into the partnership.
A: Currently, India needs a large number of COVID-19 testing kits, and so the collaboration was essential for us. We must understand that when we are looking at massive scaling, and we need to maintain the quality of the product while we increase our quantity. 

At such a situation, we have found the best partner in Adar Poonawalla and Abhijit Pawar, who will provide us with guidance on the same. Similarly, the funds required for capacity building for the initiative will come from the partnership. We have received continuous guidance from Abhijit Pawar even when we were developing the product. He helped us connect with Serum India, and that is how the partnership was developed.  

We are working on basic test solution for other diseases. We are also working on the concept of lab-in-a-box machines, and the partnership can certainly be helpful for us. Serum India can work in the field of vaccines, and we can in the field of diagnostics.

What is the role that APG and Serum India would play in the strategic partnership?
A: The COVID-19 crisis is at our doorstep, and it will be a failure for us; we are not able to handle the crisis. The partnership is important to use. Under the guidance of APG and Serum India, we will get an opportunity to serve at a global level, once we have controlled the crisis in India. Serum India has a vast presence in over 170 countries, and so we have a ready network available with us.

What is the current production capacity of the testing kits?
A: Currently our capacity is 1.5 lakh tests every week, and in the coming ten days we are planning to reach 20 lakh tests per week. We have to see to it that we get all approvals from quality control, while we scale, which is a stringent process. Our testing kit is better in terms of speed, accuracy and price point.

What would you say on the way ahead for India to control the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: While there can be multiple ways to bring the crisis in control, currently massive screening is the only solution to contain the disease. As we can see from other countries how they can control the spread with massive screening and for this, we need to have testing kits available. We should not fall short for testing the masses for COVID-19.

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