Héctor Barillas
Director General
bioMérieux
/
View from the Top

Bringing Back Attention to Diagnosis Priorities

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 04/19/2021 - 09:58

Q: What is the difference between COVID-19 monitoring tests and the diagnostic COVID-19 tests that bioMérieux has developed?

A: The main difference relates to the moment when they are necessary. Monitoring tests offer a perspective on the development of a confirmed COVID-19 case, whereas our diagnostic tests, whether PCR or antigen, determine the presence of the virus. Monitoring tests are useful to mandate hospitalization according to factors such as high D-Dimer protein presence. These tests allow doctors to prescribe anticoagulants or autoinflammatory drugs to prevent severe progression.

Q: What are bioMérieux’s reinvestment plans following the success of its COVID-19 tests?

A: North and South America played an important part in our rapid success. Our global plan targets the antimicrobial resistance awareness fight. Therefore, we will focus our efforts on educating doctors on the necessary use of antibiotics. We are still working to identify areas of opportunity or areas of reinforcement within our bimolecular and immunology portfolio.

One strategy to recover sales in our regular market is antimicrobial stewardship programs. Through this, we support governments on the use of antibiotics prescribed by doctors. This will drive our microbiology portfolio to regain a strong position in the market, which we lost due to the limitations of the pandemic. Microbiology tests are routinary and as lockdowns and restrictions lift, these tests are likely to bounce back in terms of sales.

Moreover, our antimicrobial stewardship initiative integrates health systems. We mostly work with hospitals. However, we are also close with pharma companies because they can provide enough medical information on their drugs to support doctors’ decisions regarding antibiotic prescriptions. This collaborative effort brings the industry closer to value-based healthcare models. bioMérieux’s goal is to improve the patient’s life though useful solutions, which involves having a timely and precise diagnosis. The outcome can only be seen by monitoring treatment adherence.

Q: How has bioMérieux ensured the continuity of antimicrobial initiatives with governmental institutions during the pandemic?

A: Adding hospitals to our educational strategies was difficult to achieve during the first months of the pandemic. We conducted a study on COVID-19’s impact on antimicrobial resistance in Latin America and the results, unfortunately, were negative. It is understandable that hospitals abandoned certain areas during the pandemic because the workloads were immense and hard to balance.

Q: How did bioMérieux overcome global supply chain disruptions during the pandemic?

A: This specifically impacted our R&D, especially when we were working on COVID-19 diagnostic tests. We were lucky to have contracts that prevented a crisis or significant disruption. Also, our US stock and supply allowed us to continue operating regularly. The main challenge was to ready our supply and stock, but we did not face major disruptions.

Q: How advanced is the consolidation of your rapid syndromic diagnosis area?

A: The pandemic brought attention to what a PCR is, which is what we use for rapid syndromic diagnostic tests. Its positioning has been challenging due to price, so we are working to educate clients on the test, explaining how it can diagnose a variety of respiratory diseases that go beyond influenza or SARS-CoV-2. The test provides specific information on the patient’s infection in a very short period of time.

 

bioMérieux has more than 50 years of experience in the development of in vitro diagnostics. It offers clinical diagnostic products for laboratories and hospitals, as well as industrial microbiology solutions for the food, biopharma, veterinary and cosmetics sectors.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst