Molecular diagnostics (MDx) is the application of the molecular biology technique used in the study of human diseases, including infectious diseases, inherited conditions as well as cancer. The research focuses on genomic and proteomic analysis to identify the disease biomarkers, creating better diagnostics that ultimately find new treatments and potential cures. The techniques used in the applications include core molecular biology methods, nucleic acid isolation and quantification, PCR amplification, sequencing, and STR analysis.
It utilizes powerful tools such as gene expression profiling, DNA sequence analysis, and the detection of biomarkers to determine the susceptibility of individuals. Different conventional tests have been replaced by molecular testing methods in many areas of laboratory medicine, including clinical chemistry, infectious diseases, cancer, and clinical genetics.
MENA countries have made some changes to their healthcare sector after the COVID-19. The UAE healthcare sector has done substantial infrastructure and procedural changes to elevate itself as a global leader in healthcare service providers. According to the Dubai Health Authority report 2021,to expand capacity for COVID-19 patients, the UAE government opened many field hospitals.
COVID-19 has entailed tightening of financial operations, which has decreased the economic activity in the region. The UAE in 2020 reported an increase of 8% in the insurance premiums, accelerating the inflation rate.
Molecular Diagnostics Market drivers in the MENA
The MDx market in the MENA region is driven primarily due to the rising prevalence of infectious diseases and various cancers and the increase in research and development activities and funding in the molecular diagnostics domain.
The molecular diagnostic testing for the COVID-19 has been considered the key to the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government organizations in all the countries in the MENA region are supporting the laboratories in streamlining the COVID-19 testing procedures. The specific country regulatory authorities have utilized the methods to speed up the approval of the molecular diagnostic products.
The rising healthcare expenditure and the rising adoption of the analyzers and software for molecular diagnostics will create an opportunity for the Middle East and African Molecular Diagnostic market. The rising awareness about prenatal genetic testing for the early detection of chromosomal abnormalities during pregnancy has also led to an increase in the use of molecular diagnostics in the MENA region.
Epidemiological insights in MENA countries that demand Molecular Diagnostics
As per the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the adult diabetes prevalence in 2021 was 18.7% in Saudi Arabia.
As per the World Bank statistics in 2019, the incidence of people suffering from tuberculosis was 9.9 per 100,000 people in Saudi Arabia.
As per the World Bank Statistics, the incidence of people suffering from tuberculosis was 1 per 100,000 people in the UAE in 2020.
As per the World Bank Statistics, the incidence of people suffering from tuberculosis was 8 per 100,000 people in Saudi Arabia in 2020.
As the COVID-19 outbreak has led to a sense of urgency worldwide, including the MENA region, molecular diagnostic techniques have become indispensable to cater to the increased demand for SARS-Cov2 diagnosis.
The MDx technology will revamp the healthcare scenario of the Middle East countries. Even the molecular diagnostic technology will be paramount in completing the vision of an integrated healthcare system proposed by the Saudi government.
Steps that were taken by the various governments in MENA to raise awareness regarding molecular diagnostics testing
Different steps have been taken by the government of the MENA region to improve the molecular diagnostics market in the MENA region. In response to the growing demand for molecular diagnostics in the MENA countries, the national and international governments across the MENA countries have taken some initiatives such as increasing insurance coverage towards a “universalized coverage” system, construction of 50–60 major hospitals, rising private-sector involvement, and investment in healthcare services. In Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Health has planned an expenditure of around SAR 23 Billion on the upcoming initiatives within the healthcare industry. The Saudi Arabian government has also set the target for privatizing around 295 hospitals and 2,259 healthcare facilities by 2030, as per the Saudi Vision 2030 plan.
On January 13, 2022, HiberGene Diagnostics, Ireland’s leading diagnostics manufacturer, launched an innovative PCR adapted COVID-19 test at the Arab Health 2022.
On November 19, 2018, Medlab, the MENA region’s largest medical laboratory exhibition and congress, announced the launch of the inaugural Artificial Intelligence (AI) conference.
The molecular diagnostic market in the MENA region is expected to grow. The efforts taken by governments to establish local manufacturing hubs in their own countries are further expected to drive the demand for the molecular diagnostic market. The healthcare companies are continuously focusing on making new and innovative solutions for improving, combating, and curing the diseases around the region.
Molecular diagnostic devices are playing a crucial role in securing people’s lives by providing accurate diagnosis and prognosis, thus allowing improvised monitoring and treatment. Both the public and the private healthcare officials constantly rate quality care and the value for money as a major health priority and therefore there is a need to cater to high-quality laboratory testing. The rapid technological advancement in the molecular diagnostic product arena is increasing the demand for point-of-care diagnostics and rising consumer awareness.