PepsiCo India on Tuesday said the first batch of test kits for coronavirus funded by it has started reaching testing sites across India.
These kits are being procured and distributed by Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) with funding from PepsiCo India and have been approved by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the company said in a statement.
PepsiCo India had volunteered to support the scale up of India's COVID-19 testing capacity through support provided to FIND.
Besides, it has taken other initiatives including providing over 7 million meals to families impacted by COVID-19 outbreak in partnership with non-government organisation (NGO) partners.
The test kits and reagents have been procured from manufacturers approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and are run using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology, which is currently the gold standard for detecting patients with COVID-19, the company said.
Commenting on the initiative, PepsiCo India President Ahmed ElSheikh said, "PepsiCo India stands committed to lending its full support to the GoI (Government of India) in its fight against the pandemic. Our partnership with FIND is all about scaling up access to diagnostics and testing kits across the country." During these challenging times, he further said, "We have been working very closely with FIND to distribute testing kits to public and private healthcare laboratories in India. We believe lending assistance through such initiatives is also one of the best ways to support our real heroes - the healthcare community who are battling on the front lines against COVID-19."
FIND India Head Sanjay Sarin said the sheer size of India and the density of urban populations increases the challenges and complexity of scaling up testing capacity quickly and efficiently.
"Testing is our first-line of defence against this pandemic - and it is actionable today," he said, adding private sector partnerships such as the one with PepsiCo India are critical to make COVID-19 tests available to everyone who needs it.