Increasing patient awareness and rising demand for high quality care have made it imperative for healthcare providers to develop targeted therapy. This is achieved through specific and sensitive diagnostic tests. Clinical diagnostic tests are used to determine the likelihood that a medical condition is, or will be, present; provide information about the person’s health, or monitor a course of disease and assess the patient’s response to treatments. Various techniques of clinical diagnostic testing include blood gas testing, clinical chemistry, immunoassay, coagulation testing, hematology, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and staining method.
Typically, clinical diagnostic tests involve use of antibody-based technique for recognizing proteins or disease markers. However, these immunoassays cannot identify all biomarkers in one test and are prone to false-positive and false-negative results. Therefore, there is growing demand for more accurate, efficient, and reliable technologies. This has led to development of alternative testing methods such as LC-MS and GC-MS. However, high initial capital investment and lack of skilled labor is deterring adoption of advance testing devices. Major instruments used in clinical diagnostics include immunoassay analyzer, HPLC system, chemical analyzer, mass spectrometer (MS), LC-MS, and GC-MS. The use of reagents has simplified the testing practice and workflow for personnel in diagnostic laboratories.
New Techniques in Use
Molecular diagnostics is driving growth of the personalized medicine market, which involves co-development of drugs/devices and specialized diagnostic tests. Also referred to as companion diagnostic, this technique can be used for toxicity studies, dose selection, monitoring patient response, and patient stratification.
Rapid diagnostic tests are performed at the physician office laboratory (POL), hospitals, health centers and home care. Demand for these tests is increasing rapidly owing to faster and accurate results being delivered. Rapid tests have been developed for HbA1c testing, drug abuse, pregnancy testing, micro albumin, creatinine, blood gases, RSV, etc.
Demand for In-vitro diagnostics (IVD) is rapidly growing in emerging markets such as India, China, Brazil, and South Korea. In-vitro diagnostic techniques have transformed the diagnostic industry by eliminating the complex in-vivo testing methods. The IVD techniques that encompass the advance PCR technique, assays and hematology testing, helps diagnose and monitor patient’s health condition using samples of blood, cells or tissues.
Immunoassay diagnostics is expected to be driven by technological advancements such as novel biomarkers, ultrasensitive detection system and assays.
The diagnostic landscape, especially in the developing countries, is highly fragmented marked by the large presence of unorganized diagnostic labs. Global players are now building global networks by investing in foreign markets. Moreover, in terms of manufacturers, the market is fragmented in a similar manner with many small players grabbing the local markets. With increasing demand for home care, the manufacturers and diagnostic laboratories need to work in collaboration to provide quality care at patient convenience.
Increasing healthcare costs is deterring patients from undergoing regular health tests that can be improved with a wider insurance coverage. Inadequate insurance coverage in the emerging economies is restricting patients from undergoing expensive health tests, thus fueling the market growth. Moreover, centralization of testing laboratories will increase the demand for high volume instrumentation and automation equipment. AsiaPacific, Latin America and the Middle East markets should not be ignored, as demand for IVD tests is increasing rapidly here.
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