This woman entrepreneur’s company offers RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 at an affordable cost of Rs 499

Almost a year after the first case of COVID-19 was reported, test-and-trace remains the best way to control the pandemic, as vaccine approval and access will take time to reach entire populations.

Avani singh who holds a master’s degree in public policy from Stanford University was working remotely as a consultant at McKinsey when cases of COVID-19 in India began to rise.

“While accompanying my father to meetings, I met a number of government officials and it became very clear that behind these growing cases the discordant problem was the government’s inability to carry out testing on a widespread basis,” he said. said Avani, daughter of Ajay Singh, president and CEO of Jet épices.

Fast and affordable tests

Noting that one of the reasons people don’t get tested was due to the high price (RT-PCR test costs Rs 2,400 in Delhi), Avani decided to use the existing platform SpiceHealth, an affiliate from his father’s aviation company Spicejet. .

Launching inexpensive and efficient mobile laboratories, it has partnered with genomics company GeneStore and the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). Azadpur Mandi’s first laboratory in Delhi is operational and performs more than 3,000 tests per day.

Certified by ICMR and NABL, SpiceHealth plans to develop up to 100 laboratories equipped with machines to operate the RCP-TR test by the end of the year.

Priced at Rs 499, the results are available in six o’clock from the time of sample collection versus the 24-48 hour field average.

Having infused an initial investment of around Rs 5 lakh so far, Avani says this is an ongoing activity and with each new lab the company incurs costs on tools and machinery. .

Avani says, “This is a low cost operation where the revenue model is to do so much testing for a lower price. Our goal is to deliver to as many people as possible at a low and affordable cost without compromising on quality. “

Avani Singh, CEO of SpiceHealth with Union Home Secretary Amit Shah

By starting operations in the nation’s capital, SpiceHealth hopes to venture into neighboring regions like Delhi-NCR and Haryana. She says expansion plans depend on the needs of the government at any given time.

“The demands keep coming in every day. We are not looking at it from a commercial point of view but mainly on the basis of needs. And having mobile laboratories makes it easy to meet these needs, ”she adds.

Hailed as another Make-In-India initiative, the first mobile testing lab was inaugurated by Union Minister of the Interior, Amit Shah.

“The RT-PCR test, known for its diagnostic accuracy, is the most widely used COVID test in the world. By offering this test at a fraction of the current price, ensuring a much faster turnaround time of just six hours, and deploying easily transportable mobile labs to more remote areas, we hope to expand testing significantly across the country. ”Said Avani. during the ceremony.

She shares that while not having health care training has been a challenge, government support has helped scale, hire people, and move the business forward. Avani adds that every day in the field is a learning experience.

Empower women

This isn’t the first time Avani has seen a problem as an opportunity to make a difference.

In 2012, when electric rickshaws became popular in Delhi, she was working with an NGO called Equal Insaniyat where she met many women who wanted to be financially independent.

Avani, then 17, decided to start a NGO called Umeed to train women to drive electric rickshaws and later as taxi drivers. As the management of work abroad has become a challenge, the organization is now supervised by a junior from her school.

Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan

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