The potential demand for antigen detection will also become a tens of billions of business. (Image source: Adobe stock)
[Look at China News, December 6, 2022](See comprehensive report compiled by Chinese reporter Li Zhengxin) Under the Beijing authorities’ adherence to the “clear zero” epidemic prevention policy, the nucleic acid testing business is lucrative. In the future, as the epidemic prevention policy may change, the potential demand for antigen testing will also become a business of tens of billions.
People in China are rushing to buy COVID-19 (new coronavirus) antigen test kits and medicines to treat fevers and colds, as the recent relaxation of lockdown measures has sparked widespread fears of possible infection from the virus.
Sales of online pharmaceutical platforms, pharmacies and drugmakers have surged in recent days, with listed company JD.com Health saying sales of antigen test kits jumped 344% in the week from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 from the previous week.
On December 6, according to a Reuters report from Beijing, Huang Yuqi, a Beijing resident who works in an entertainment company, said, “People around me are buying antigen kits, and I bought 50 of them”; It’s a new phase in terms of pandemic policy, and I’m not sure what’s next. We’re just trying to protect ourselves, so I also bought N95 masks, Tylenol, and ibuprofen.”
A clerk at Tongzhitang Dongdan Pharmacy in Beijing told Reuters on the 5th that they had sold out of antipyretics. “I’ve never seen so many customers come in for fever reducers in one day,” he said. “We’re working hard to restock the shelves, but it could take a week.”
On December 5, the Beijing market supervision department issued a warning against hoarding and raising prices of anti-epidemic products, including antiviral drugs, masks and disinfection and sterilization products.
The surge in demand has pushed up shares of pharmaceutical makers, with shares of listed companies Guizhou Bailing, a maker of cough syrup, and Xinhua Pharmaceutical up on the 6th.
In the past three years of the pandemic, the Beijing authorities have adopted a “clear” epidemic prevention policy, from closing borders to frequent area and city blockades. This is in stark contrast to other countries in the world. Major economies have largely decided to coexist with the virus.
Public discontent boiled over a wave of protests late last month, with the “white paper movement” marking the strongest dissent in nearly a decade, as authorities finally began easing some of their toughest restrictions.
While many have been relieved by the easing of some requirements, including reduced testing and allowing positive cases to stay at home in some places, many others now feel more vulnerable to the virus.
Officials who have previously emphasized the danger of the mutated strain Omicron (Omicron) have also been questioned by the public in their latest changes.
People worried about contracting the virus have also started buying Lianhua Qingwen, a traditional Chinese medicine produced by Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical.
Shandong-based Buchang Pharmaceutical told Chinese news outlet Cailian that its factories producing traditional Chinese medicines for lung diseases were working around the clock due to “huge demand”.
The rush to buy COVID-19 treatments has drawn rebuttals from state media, with the Economic Daily reporting on Dec. 6 that there is “no scientific basis for irrational buying and hoarding of specific drugs.”
However, it is worth noting that according to the latest epidemic prevention strategies issued by various provinces and cities, nucleic acid testing has retreated to the background, and antigen testing, which is convenient for self-testing at home, is at the foreground.
For example, Beijing has launched the antigen self-test upload platform “Jingantigen”. After completing the self-test antigen, citizens can upload the antigen test results by themselves on the “Jingantigen” applet.
Not only Beijing, but also Guangzhou, Zhejiang and other provinces and cities have introduced relevant policies to encourage antigen self-testing.
On December 6, according to the research report of Guolian Securities, the Chinese online media Titanium Media, without calculating the data in China, the global average infection rate was 9.5%, of which 40% were symptomatic infections (based on Nature data and Huazhong University of Science and Technology Wu Tangchun team model). According to existing rules, symptomatic patients need to test antigens up to 3 times. Calculated, there are 160 million people with symptomatic infections in China who need to be tested.
In addition, count the populations exposed to infected persons. For example, the transmission coefficient of the Mysterious Keron BA.5 strain reaches 8. Based on the average infection rate of 9.5%, the number of people in this part of China is 1.4 billion*9.5%*8=1.064 billion. Based on 3 tests per person, that corresponds to 3.19 billion person-times.
According to the calculations of the two major population groups, the total demand for antigen detection is at least 3 billion times. As of December 2, 35 registration certificates for antigen detection in China have been approved. Judging from the relevant prices announced by some local governments, antigen detection reagents are 3.9 yuan per person. It can be seen that another market with a scale of 10 billion yuan will appear.
Source: Watch China
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