The economy and businesses across the world have been influenced greatly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 has spread globally in unprecedented ways due to its high infectious and contagious nature and lack of vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic due to its increased spread across the globe. According to the situation report of 7th June 2021 by WHO, 174 million corona cases had been reported globally and 3.7 million patients died due to the coronavirus. On a slightly positive note, a total of 157 million people have recovered, and 1.9 million vaccine doses have been administered.
Cell culture refers to removing cells from an animal or plant and their subsequent growth in a favorable artificial environment. Automated cell culture systems are instruments that mechanically carry out the steps involved in growing and maintaining a cell culture useful in any lab that works with cell biology, cell signaling, protein expression, or drug discovery. An automated cell culture system helps to grow cell cultures while saving labor time and reducing errors. Increasing demand for cell culture technology in vaccine production and wide acceptance of cell culture techniques in various applications accelerate the market growth. However, the high cost of automated cell culture systems and lack of skilled and certified professionals are expected to obstruct the market growth.
COVID-19 pandemic created problems for many drug, clinical, medical equipment, and device manufacturing companies, including market players that provided automated cell culture products & services. Though, different kind of policies has been adopted by different companies across the globe for carrying forward the manufacturing processes.
IMPACT ON DEMAND
Today, most biotechnology products are primarily dependent on the mass culturing of cell lines. Cell cultures have found applications in diverse areas and serve as a model system for numerous research efforts. An increase in funding from the government for cell-based research is significantly triggering the growth of the market. In addition, cell culture techniques are widely used as an alternative to current egg-based strategies for developing cell-based vaccines. Thus, cell culture technology has been widely used in developing U.S. -licensed vaccines such as vaccines against rubella, smallpox, chickenpox, hepatitis, rotavirus, and polio.
• Over the last month and a half, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology has established stable cultures of COVID-19 causing coronavirus. The lab's ability to culture the virus enables CCMB to develop vaccines and test potential drugs to fight COVID-19.
As observed, because of the current COVID-19 situation, the demand for automated cell culture services gradually increased due to the wide acceptance of cell culture techniques in various applications and growth in the biotechnology sector. This shows that various initiatives taken by organizations and market players are helping to tackle this COVID-19 situation as products are made available, and the situation is likely to get better in the future.
COVID-19 claimed a considerable number of lives worldwide, which is a concern in countries with high patient co-payments and an appreciable number of families going into poverty when members become ill. Consequently, there is a need to review prices and availability of pharmaceutical products during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide future direction.
The pandemic has impacted on utilization and prices of pertinent medicines and products but moderated by increased scrutiny. Key stakeholder groups can play a role in enhancing evidence-based approaches and reducing inappropriate purchasing in the future.
• The Price of BACTEC FX-40 Automated Blood Culture System manufactured by BD is USD 10,608.08
• The price of Gibco HEPES, a reagent used in cell culture manufactured by Thermo Fisher Scientific, is USD 30.90
Product cost is the major setback for the market as it is expected to decrease the demand due to high costs. As the instruments and consumables related products such as cell counters, reagents, and buffers have high prices, the cost of automated cell cultures can impact the market.
IMPACT ON SUPPLY CHAIN
Lockdown policies in different countries have resulted in the closing of product providers, decreasing walk-in customers to prevent the spread of the disease. This led to a significant delay in the supply of the product. Also, during the lockdown period, the market for online delivery of products has seen a rise, which is normal considering the situation. The companies dealing in the automated cell culture worldwide have taken strategic steps to supply products to people across the world properly.
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic triggered unprecedented increased demand for some clinical devices, as well as significant disruptions to global medical and clinical device manufacturing and supply chain operations. The FDA is monitoring the medical and clinical product supply chain and working closely with manufacturers and other stakeholders to evaluate the risk of disruptions and prevent or reduce their impact on patients, health care providers, and the public's health at large.
· On March 27th 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law. The CARES Act added Section 506J to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). It provided the FDA—for the first time—with new authority intended to help prevent or mitigate negative public health impacts of medical device supply chain disruptions “during, or in advance of, a public health emergency declared by the Secretary under section 319 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act.”
The FDA issued an immediately in effect guidance, Notifying CDRH of a Permanent Discontinuance or Interruption in Manufacturing of a Device Under Section 506J of the FD&C Act During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff. This guidance is intended to assist manufacturers in providing the FDA timely, informative notifications about changes in the production of certain medical devices that will help the Agency prevent or mitigate shortages of such devices during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
· In April 2020, according to Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA), Vice-Chairman, T Sathish, the pharma sector in the country has been hit by a shortage of workforce, packaging materials, and transport the COVID-19 lockdown. This has led to a shortage of product packaging materials and has made matters worse for the pharmaceutical companies. He urged the government to permit the supporting industry to function to ensure that the supply chain was not disrupted.
This shows that even if the COVID-19 situation disrupts the supply chain of products, the initiatives taken by the government and different companies create hope for the proper supply and use of products available.
STRATEGIC DECISIONS FOR MANUFACTURERS
COVID-19 might have hampered the supply and use of products, but it also allows companies to improve their business by different means. As a pharmaceutical company always does, it tends to find newer and better ways to treat a disease; the same is true with automated cell culture services and products. Always bringing out better solutions in the market will increase their business efficiency.
· In 2020, in the U.S., the companies with direct exposure to COVID-19 outbreak were taking several actions, including transporting available inventory to areas away from quarantine zones and near ports where it can be accessed for shipping, buying ahead to procure inventory and raw material that are in short supply in impacted areas, activating pre-approved raw material substitutions in places where the primary supplier is impacted. However, a secondary supplier is not updating customers about delays and adjusting customer allocations to optimize profits on near-term revenue or to meet contractual terms and shaping demand by offering a discount on the available inventory in cases where supply may be short for late winter-early spring fulfillment optimizing near-term revenue.
This signifies that despite this COVID-19 situation, the companies make different strategic decisions that will make their business grow at least back to pre-pandemic levels.
Pandemic has taken a toll on every aspect of life, including the global economy. With the significant downfalls in many sectors, a collaborative effort of government, industry players, and consumers can win the fight against COVID-19. The first wave had already inflicted severe blows to the population and economy. The currently experiencing the second wave and expected the third wave is likely to be more disastrous to the masses and healthcare markets.
As this pandemic situation has resulted in many restrictions in different places around the world, the market players dealing in automated cell culture services and products were still able to manage their stock. Different companies were finding out their way to deal with this pandemic situation. The government and companies around the globe are working together and have issued advice for those who are undergoing treatment during these unprecedented times during COVID-19 lockdown around the world.
The supply chain was destroyed, but several steps were taken by the government and companies, which will help them get their needed output for the products. By increasing the material price, the companies can maintain their overall revenue.
Thus, different companies dealing in automated cell culture services and products are finding out their ways to deal with this pandemic situation.
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