Rapid antigen tests to erode PCR-based molecular covid-19 test market in Asia-Pacific

Rapid antigen tests to erode PCR-based molecular covid-19 test market in Asia-Pacific


Emergent covid-19 screening technologies coupled with declining testing demand are likely to erode the molecular-based covid-19 test market in Asia-Pacific (APAC) over the next five years. 

Clearstate’s findings indicate that the market for covid-19 molecular testing would have peaked in 2021, and will progressively decline over the next five years.

  • Epidemiology: New, more contagious variants of the virus such as the Omicron variant have continued to emerge despite rising vaccination rates across APAC. However, based on increasing vaccine uptake and the ongoing mix and match vaccine studies across the region, the incidence rate of the disease is likely to fall from 2022, eliminating the need for widespread screenings.
  • Price: manufacturer prices for covid-19 test kits have been declining significantly since the beginning of the pandemic as more players enter the reagent sales market. PCR test kits now cost 60% less than they did in the early months of 2020. To boost public testing and screening, governments have also imposed price ceilings for PCR tests which have eroded both lab and distributor margins throughout 2021. This could also further pressurise kit manufacturers to achieve economies of scale faster and manufacture kits at a lower price point.
  • Shifting preference in testing: between 2020 and 2021, PCR-based testing became the preferred method for screening and infection confirmation. This is likely to change in the coming years. As countries reopen their economies, routine testing (for tracing purposes at work or for travel and large scale events) will constitute a high percentage of testing volume. However, the long turnaround time for PCR tests may see a preference shift to the faster and more mobile rapid antigen kits. The introduction of over the counter (OTC) test kits further extends covid-19 testing into homes or offices where anyone can purchase self-test kits sold in pharmacies or online, further eroding “screening” cases from molecular-based tests.
Rapid antigen tests to erode PCR-based molecular covid-19 test market in Asia-Pacific

For more on the MDx market, download the white paper on After covid-19: the future of molecular diagnostics in Asia-Pacific.

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