India is going through its toughest phase since the pandemic hit the country with over 2.5 lakh fresh cases being reported daily. However, the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League continues to take place amid all the bleak news.
While test reports in cities such as Mumbai have been taking a turnaround time of around 72-96 hours in the past week (as opposed to 24-36 earlier), Neuberg Diagnostics’ frequent testing of those involved with the IPL and its ‘bio-bubble’ has helped the tournament continue and provide entertainment for those homebound during this tough period. The diagnostics company has been serving the BCCI since the auctions were held in February this year.
We caught up with Aishwarya Vasudevan, group chief operating officer, Neuberg Diagnostics, for a chat on how the lab is operating during the IPL, and the pandemic in general.
How does the brand look to leverage this partnership with the IPL? Will there be any campaign around this?
No, we’re not looking to leverage this association at the moment. We haven’t partnered with the IPL to market – but because we have the bandwidth. We are looking at this as an act of duty and there’s no advertising angle to it. We’ve partnered with the BCCI since the time of the IPL auctions and will move around with them across venues. We are just health partners in terms of testing players.
What is Neuberg’s scope? Do you only test players and those in the bio-bubble?
Screening is mandatory for all those associated with the game both inside and outside of the bio-bubble. All players, the management team, broadcasting crew, state, and central cricket committee members, groundskeepers, hotel staff, and the event management team are being tested as per protocol.
Outside of the IPL, is Neuberg also conducting tests for the general public? If yes, is there a backlog?
Neuberg was one of the first labs to get approval to conduct Covid-19 tests in India. We have many safe Covid-19 testing options based on customer convenience, such as home collection, walk-in kiosk, drive-through, etc. We are capable of processing 25,000 samples a day within the group.
About the backlog, yes, there is one but it isn’t just for us. We have scaled up our capacity. However, the cases are rampant now and much more widespread. All our peers and we are facing manpower and material issues, with sample collection being a challenge. We were able to issue reports in about six hours initially. Now, it’s about 24-48 hours that’s maintained across the labs.
The IPL, with its size of operation, has no room for delay, and we’re on the ball for that.
How often are players and members of the bio-bubble being tested?
As our protocol, we can’t share that. The IPL is running a tight ship and has put in protocols for the players and have done a phenomenal job. We are just following their guidelines. The BCCI is doing a great job with dynamic guidelines for the tournament.
Once the IPL is over, would you want to spread the word about being partners with the tournament with a campaign?
We are not doing this for publicity. Yes, it’s a proud moment for us to partner with the IPL. We’ll see what happens post the tournament but I’m certain we are not looking at it as a hardcore brand campaign.
The players are entertaining us at this time, and we’re happy to serve them; we don’t know the outcome. At this moment, we are just looking to serve the customer.