Besides the introduction/sales of COVID-19 test kits and the building of a testing system, Sysmex has been involved in a wide range of initiatives to confront COVID-19.
One such initiative is the contribution to the enhancement of anti-COVID-19 measures through continuous analysis of testing data at CoviLab. In more concrete terms, they are trying to increase the efficiency of such measures by analyzing the number of tests per month and the rate of positive test results by clients, e.g., governments, medical institutions, etc. September 2020 saw the release of an inactivation reagent that reduces the infectiousness of viruses in samples, which was being developed to make the testing process more efficient. This innovative product made it possible to bypass the sample inactivation process at testing facilities, reducing the time for testing 50 samples from six to four hours on average. At present, the inactivation reagent is being rapidly introduced to various testing facilities, thus reducing the workload and enhancing the safety of medical professionals.
At CoviLab, they put an automated testing robot to use. To further increase testing efficiency and address labor shortages, they are also developing a fully automated PCR testing robot system in collaboration with Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Medicaroid Corporation. Other initiatives to address social issues include in-house development of PCR testing kits, and the development of antigen test reagents and test reagents that predict the risk of COVID-19 cases worsening and assist treatment monitoring, as well as having such products approved by regulatory authorities and covered by insurance, and the development and realization of antibody test reagents for research.
Having led these forward-looking initiatives, Taniguchi says he now feels even more connected with Sysmex's social mission: "We take great pride in that what we are doing is contributing to healthcare. Having put myself in the shoes of customers, in this case, those who perform testing, I was able to feel the difficulties that clinical technologists and medical professionals experience every day. I will be sure to use the lessons learned from gaining hands-on experience with the challenges of future product development, in the hope of solving more of these challenges."