Speaking to the Lusa agency, director Catarina Almeida said that the company has been “meeting the existing demand”, although in Portugal there will be “a slight decrease in demand” compared to Christmas and New Year periods.
Although not significant, the slight decrease in demand is going “against the trend of the rest of Europe”, stressed Catarina Almeida, giving as an example Italy, a country with which the company “will close a large order”.
Due to the increase in demand in the domestic market during the festive season, the company suspended exports to other European countries in December, and is currently producing 50,000 rapid antigen tests daily for the national market.
“At Christmas and New Year's time there was a huge demand for self-tests. We have started to notice that, in terms of contacts in Portugal, there is a decrease that is not significant and may be related to the existing 'stocks' held by our distributors ”, she said.
Given the proximity to Carnival (March 1st), the director of the firm, based in Oliveira de Frades, in the district of Viseu, and which employs 50 people, revealed that they intend to “make some stock”.
“It is expected that demand [now] will slow down slightly, which will allow us to make some ‘stock’ for the time of Carnival, when we believe that there will be a rise in demand again”, she said.
The official said that they intend to hire 10 more people in the short term to meet the expected demand.
Pantest is the only Portuguese company certified by Infarmed for the production of rapid antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2, among the 153 companies and laboratories whose tests are authorized in Portugal.
The company used the experience it had acquired with other diseases, for which it already produced rapid detection tests, such as infectious ones (HIV and hepatitis), and in February 2020 it obtained Infarmed certification for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Although Infarmed's license allows the development of PCR tests, the company has focused only on the production of rapid antigen tests, for which demand has been high.
As for exports, Catarina Almeida said that the Italian market “is growing a lot”, as well as the Spanish market.
“These two will be markets to explore in 2022,” she added.