The key to overcoming this pandemic is to slow transmission of the virus by preventing contagious people from infecting others. Testing is one way to identify contagious people so they can be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease, however due to the rising infection numbers, testing sites have been reaching maximum capacity and test results often take days. Making coronavirus testing easy, accurate and fast is critical to ending the pandemic and the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche is making a step in that direction.
On 1 September 2020 the company announced that it will launch a SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test in late September, in partnership with SD Biosensor in all countries accepting the CE mark. The SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test is designed for use in point of care settings for both symptomatic and asymptomatic people, helping healthcare professionals to quickly identify people suspected to carry the virus with results typically ready in 15 minutes. The test has a sensitivity of 96.52% and a specificity of 99.68%, based on 426 samples from two independent study centres.
When the test launches at the end of the month, the company said it will be able to produce 40 million tests every month and it hopes to double that capacity by the end of the year.
The test is the tenth addition to the comprehensive Roche diagnostic portfolio to help healthcare systems combat COVID-19 through testing in the laboratory and at the point of care. Currently, this portfolio includes molecular, serology and digital solutions which help diagnose and manage COVID-19 during the initial stages of infection, during the recovery phase, as well as following the resolution of infection.
Thomas Schinecker, CEO of Roche Diagnostics, stated, “As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, healthcare systems remain challenged. Testing continues to be an important focus for many countries. Especially in the upcoming flu season, it is important to know whether a person has SARS-CoV-2 or the flu to ensure the right course of treatment. COVID-19 testing solutions that provide healthcare professionals and patients with a quick answer regarding their infection status are critical to contain the community-spread of the COVID-19 virus. We are working relentlessly to deliver solutions that help alleviate some of the healthcare burden with reliable SARS-CoV-2 testing solutions as we learn more about the disease and how it affects people around the world.”