August, 26, 2020
COVID-19 has created unexpected market opportunities for medical-related industries around the globe, providing openings for innovative entrepreneurs to exploit. While no doubt the crisis suppressed the exports of certain sectors, it also shed a light on emerging opportunities for domestic exporters to capitalize on; in particular PCR testing components and anti-microbial coatings.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) took advantage of this timely opportunity to enhance the export production capacity of such nascent sectors.
Both SLINTEC and the EDB entered into an agreement through which the EDB supports SLINTEC to obtain FDA registration and CE certifications for their innovative, export-ready Covid-19 product range.
Exploiting COVID-19-related market opportunities, SLINTEC ventured to innovate and commercialize two new products with high export potential: SLINTEC Swabs and SLINTEC Sterile. A spike in global testing has increased the demand for test kits and the widely administered PCR test kit requires a nasal swab for sample collection. SLINTEC has reverse engineered COVID-19 testing swabs and has been producing them in-collaboration with the Medical Research Institute of Sri Lanka, the Lady Ridgeway Hospital, and Hi-Fashion Holdings Pvt limited.
SLINTEC sterile is an antimicrobial nanocoating that can be applied on numerous surfaces without tarnishing its aesthetical appearance. This technology can eradicate microorganisms on the coating applied surface as well as the surrounding air with its protective effect lasting up to six months. The product can be commercialized via hotels, hospitals, airports, residential houses, offices, and supermarkets.
SLINTEC, with its export production capabilities for Swabs and Sterile, has identified interested buyers in the European and US markets. The last bridge to gap was to obtain FDA (US market) and CE (EU markets) certifications for export market compliance.
Seeking assistance to bridge that final gap, SLINTEC reached out to the EDB with a proposal to obtain assistance for market compliance certifications.
The EDB National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) Advisory Committee has been a leading driving force of the Sri Lanka NQI strategy – a vital trade support function of the Sri Lanka National Export Strategy (NES).
Given its strong alignment to the NES objectives of strengthening foreign market entry compliance requirements and the critical need to adapt to Covid-19 market needs, SLINTEC’s proposal was approved by the committee members.
Through the provisions of the NES 2020 budget, then Ministry of Industrial Exports and Investment Promotion allocated a 5-million-rupee financial assistance to the EDB to facilitate this timely endeavour with SLINTEC.