The New Safety & Testing Economy

The Safety & Testing Paradigm Shift

The coronavirus pandemic has been a global eyeopener, showing how ill-prepared the world is to a health shock of this magnitude. COVID-19’s significant death toll and severe economic impact has raised major questions about the pandemic preparedness of the global economy.

Foreign Affairs magazine made this salient point in their recent publication “Why the World Was Not Prepared for COVID-19”:

“The threat of pandemic disease is not new – for decades, public health experts warned that an outbreak of global proportions was on the horizon and the world would not be equipped to fight it when it had arrived”

We can now conclude that we were living on borrowed time and money with respect to pandemic preparedness, the necessary investments in global safety and testing infrastructure simply were never made.

Nassim Taleb, acclaimed statistician and author of “The Black Swan”, provided this insightful perspective on this issue:

We must realize our real economic growth is much lower than our annual figures suggest because these disasters wipe out the growth of PRECEDING years.

The costs of pandemic safety and testing must be set against GDP, this is the new normal.  This new health care paradigm shift has the potential to grow into a USD $500 billion market.

The Safety Economic Pillar

According to Grandview Research, the global market for personal protective equipment (PPE) is currently valued at USD $85 billion, this includes masks, gloves and face shields.  

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic  the market was growing at rate of 7% annually.  In the COVID-19 era, eye & face protection will grow the fastest at a rate of 11-20% per year, according to Grandview Research and Research Dive. The PPE market alone has the potential to reach USD $200 billion by 2025. 

The hand sanitizer market was worth USD $2 billion in 2019, a conservative outlook in the COVID-19 era pegs annual growth at 17% (according to Research Dive), with the potential of reaching a USD $5 billion market by 2025.

The Testing Economic Pillar

Currently, for COVID-19 testing in North America, the US administers 400K tests/day and Canada administers 200K test/day (source: The COVID Tracking Project).  According to Harvard’s Global Health Institute, it proposes the U.S. should be doing more than 900K tests/day.

There will be significant ongoing demand for testing as governments navigate re-opening economies without risking second or third waves of COVID-19 infections through their population.

Additionally, corporations and sports organizations will need to be aggressive on testing if they want to reopen their offices and competitive activities without putting employees at risk. The legal risk of not having testing protocols in-house is simply too great.

There are two types of COVID-19 tests: antibody and active virus. In America the costs for COVID-19 testing are in the following ranges (source: Capital 10X):

  • $10-20 for active virus (serology)
  • $100-150 for antibody tests

Using the mid-point of COVID-19 testing pricing and utilizing the per-capita target outlined by the Harvard Global Health Institute, the U.S. testing market has the potential to reach USD $40 billion by 2021.

On a global basis, COVID-19 testing in OECD countries is valued at USD $160 billion, including the large emerging market countries (China, India & Brazil) the total global market could be worth up to USD $300 billion.

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