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SpiceJet Chairman’s daughter-led healthcare venture looks to support Covid vax drive

SpiceJet Chairman’s daughter-led healthcare venture looks to support Covid vax drive
December 16
15:57 2020

NEW DELHI: SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singhs daughter Avani Singh-led healthcare venture, which has disrupted the Covid testing market is now looking to support the countrys upcoming Covid vaccination drive. At present, the healthcare venture offers the cheapest and fastest RT-PCR testing in the country.

A trained commercial pilot, a bachelor’s and master’s degree holder from Stanford University and having learnt the ropes working as a consultant at McKinsey, Singh had all that it takes for a big plunge into her father’s business.

Her father, Ajay Singh, is known as the turnaround man of Indian aviation and is one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs, running the country’s second biggest airline, SpiceJet.

Avani, however, came with other plans. At 24 years of age, Singh, has scripted one of the rare success stories in these gloomy times with her new health care venture, SpiceHealth. “No doubt, aviation is my first love but I wanted to do something that would make a meaningful difference to our country in these very difficult times. That is why I got involved with this idea of RT-PCR test,” Singh said in an interaction to IANS.

Avani Singh

Avani Singh

Currently, SpiceHealth has disrupted the covid testing market.

An RT-PCR test that would cost anywhere between Rs 2,400-4,000 is being conducted at a fraction of the price by SpiceHealth for Rs 499 only. Not just price, SpiceHealth is providing the test report within just 6 hours from the time of sample collection as compared to the average 24-48 hours.

“The need for developing a low-cost RT-PCR test came after meeting a lot of government officials, where it was very clear that the demand for RT-PCR test was so high and the supply was just not enough; moreover, the cost for the test was a big sour point. So, I started exploring the idea of low cost RT-PCR testing,” she says.

“From the onset, we were clear that though we would give out low-cost tests, we will not compromise on quality. For this, we have built our mobile laboratories from scratch.” SpiceHealth, she says, came up with the idea of deploying mobile laboratories which are easily transportable to the remotest areas and can be placed even in containment areas. SpiceHealth’s first mobile testing laboratory was inaugurated by Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan at ICMR, AIIMS on November 23.

Since then, five more such mobile labs have been made operational and are carrying out 15,000 RT-PCR tests on a daily basis. SpiceHealth has now tied up with CSIR – Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), becoming the first lab to provide dry swab direct RT-PCR tests in India.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently granted approval to CSIR-CCMB to commercially use the game changing technology of dry swab RNA-extraction free Covid testing method that has the potential to scale up testing by 2 to 3 fold with no additional resources and significantly reduce the time and costs of such tests.

“At SpiceHealth, our mission is to provide high-quality and low-cost healthcare at a large scale. The best way to achieve this goal is through innovation. The dry swab method, developed by CSIR-CCMB, will reduce testing time by 1.5 hours, significantly reduce cost and further revolutionize RT-PCR testing. SpiceHealth is proud to be the first Indian laboratory to incorporate this method into its labs,” she said .

“The natural next step is vaccination. We have already put in place structures to be able to deploy these vaccines in the remote parts of the country by using the mobile laboratories as well as drone services, along with SpiceJet, and we are already in talks with the government as well as ICMR to be able to deploy these.”

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