Outbreak of Lethal Zika and Chikungunya Viruses Necessitating Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Diagnostics
Early detection of any disease, viral or otherwise, is of optimum importance especially those viruses that have been recently discovered and very little is known about their cure. Zika and chikungunya are two such life threatening viruses that have caught the attention of the world in the past year. This has exponentially increased the requirement for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) diagnostic tests. PCR enables DNA sequencing, generating thousands to millions of copies, thus aiding in determining the order of its building block.
Transparency Market Research (TMR) has predicted that the global polymerase chain reaction market is projected to expand at a healthy CAGR of 6.60% during the period 2014 to 2020, reaching a global value of US$9,621.0 million and now the outbreak of Zika and chikungunya will only further expand the PCR market.
Why is the polymerase chain reaction diagnostic test a must for Zika and chikungunya virus detection?
Countries with localized prevalence of Zika and chikungunya usually experience transmission of other arboviruses that can cause similar symptoms. This makes it mandatory to test for other common arboviruses too at the same time, such as dengue. Although chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses can be detected by testing the serum for the presence of viral nucleic acid and neutralizing antibodies, serological cross-reactivity is strong between Zika and dengue viruses. Therefore, molecular detection using real-time polymerase chain reaction is strongly recommended.
Apart from the domain of diagnostics, what other factors are expected to affect the polymerase chain reaction market in the near future?
Owing to several benefits of polymerase chain reaction, this technology is experiencing immense private and public funding to explore avenues such as drug discovery, genomics, and personalized medicine. There is a growing demand for automated equipment and multifaceted analytical strategies which is expected to increase the use of PCR. Moreover, the development of new PCR tests and increasing awareness about molecular diagnostics are sure to propel the polymerase chain reaction market.
Conversely, polymerase chain reaction diagnostic kits come at a premium which is proving to be the biggest restraint in the progress of PCR diagnostic market. These kits are complicated and therefore require skilled labor as well as other data analysis tools to properly operate. Additionally, the introduction of newer technology such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) is providing stiff competition to PCR.
TMR report also highlights some of the other opportunities for players in the PCR industry such as targeted therapy and personalized medicine, as well as focusing on developing the existing PCR applications.
In conclusion, TMR analysts opine that polymerase chain reaction in itself is still an evolving molecular technology and yet it already has competition in making in the form of next-generation sequencing (NGS). That said, aren’t all technology advances succeeded by their beta version? DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is present wherever there is a living organism and owing to that, polymerase chain reaction diagnostics will remain valuable in the foreseeable future.