There has been a steady increase in demand for computerized tomography (CT) scan machines ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The machines have proven to be potent equipment in differentiating pneumonia that is caused by COVID-19 from other possible triggers. Additionally, CT scan machines can also be utilized to check how far the disease has progressed in the human body.
The ability of CT scans to differentiate COVID-induced cases of pneumonia from other types can considerably help the progress of treating patients (e.g. immediate isolation) even before their RT-PCR tests confirm that they are COVID-positive. However, this does not mean that CT scan results can be a complete substitute when it comes to identifying COVID-positive patients.
The pneumonia scores provided by CT scans can also help determine which patients need immediate help. This becomes more important during the pandemic, as more hospitals and medical facilities are experiencing shortages in ventilators and other equipment. Being able to determine which patients need to be prioritized can help medical professionals to make better clinical decisions, especially when there is a surge of incoming patients.
CT scan machines are more exposed to virus particles because of how the machine is used, which means that a couple of spare machines may be needed by some facilities in order to lower their backlog due to repetitive disinfection of each machine every time a patient uses it. For larger hospitals, buying more units makes sense because it would certainly be more efficient now that more patients need them.
Large manufacturing companies like Siemens Healthineers are used to selling over 200 CT scan machines annually. The coronavirus outbreak has prompted a significant rise in demand for CT scan equipment, as Siemens reported sales of 80-100 units in just 45 days. Vivek Kanade, executive vice-president of Siemens Healthineers-India, believes that this surge is caused by the fact that the machines can also calculate the medical score of patients with pneumonia, which could help in determining the type of treatment that the patient would need.
Wipro GE Healthcare has also seen a similar increase in demand for their CT scan machines. To make up for the surge, they have increased their production of mobile X-ray machines at their Bengaluru site, with 60-70 percent of the products targeted at sites where CT services did not exist before.
Shravan Subramanyam, managing director of Wipro GE Healthcare-South Asia, speculates that the increase in demand for CT scan machines may be related to a higher demand for treatment of other diseases, as many people have become more aware of the importance of their health during the pandemic. Additionally, a lot of people deferred on going to the hospital for treatment due to fear of the pandemic. As such, the increase in demand for CT scan machines may continue even after the pandemic, not just for patients who have been infected by the coronavirus, but also for individuals who wish to improve their general health.
(Source: Business Standard)