Roche To Launch New Serology Test To Detect COVID-19 Antibodies

Swiss drug maker Roche is set to launch its newly developed serology test to detect COVID-19 antibodies by early May. The company considers antibody test as the important next step in the fight against COVID-19.

According to the company, the new Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 serology test helps to detect antibodies in patients exposed to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2. This virus causes the COVID-19 disease.

Antibody testing is central to find out people who have been infected by the virus, especially those who do not display symptoms. The detection of these antibodies could help indicate if a person has gained immunity against the virus and inform treatment decisions.

The company expects the test could support priority screening of high risk groups, such as healthcare workers and food supply workers who might already have developed a certain level of immunity and can continue serving and/or return to work.

The test uses human serum and plasma drawn from a blood sample, to detect antibodies and determine the body’s immune reaction to SARS-CoV-2. Hospitals and reference laboratories can run the test.

Roche said the test will be available by early May in countries accepting the CE mark. The company is also working with the US Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization.

The company is planning to increase monthly production to high double-digit million tests by June and further scale up production as fast as possible.

Rival drug maker Abbott on Wednesday had launched a lab-based serology blood test for the detection of the antibody, IgG, for COVID-19. The company is significantly scaling up its manufacturing for antibody testing and is expecting to immediately ship close to 1 million tests in the current week to U.S. customers.

Abbott will ship 4 million tests in total for April, and expects to supply 20 million tests in the U.S. in June and beyond.

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