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Roche is set to launch the Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 serology test that can detect antibodies in people exposed to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus, which causes Covid-19.

The in vitro test uses human serum and plasma collected from a blood sample to identify antibodies and determine the body’s immune reaction to the virus.

Furthermore, the test supports priority screening of high-risk groups, including healthcare workers and food supply workers who might already have developed a certain level of immunity. This will help to decide whether they can continue serving or return to work in case of an infection.

Roche Group CEO Severin Schwan said: “Following the launch of our high-volume PCR test in mid-March to detect active infection of the disease, we are now going to launch a new antibody test in early May.

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“Every reliable test on the market serves its purpose for healthcare systems to help us overcome this pandemic. Roche is collaborating closely with health authorities and ramping up production to ensure fast availability of the test globally.”

The company noted that antibody tests help to identify people infected by the virus, especially those who may have been infected but did not display symptoms.

Roche’s test can also be used in epidemiological research to help better understand the spread of the disease. Additionally, it can be used in the diagnosis of suspected Covid-19 patients when combined with other molecular tests.

Roche Diagnostics CEO Thomas Schinecker said: “Timely availability and fast access to reliable, high-quality tests are essential for healthcare systems. The antibody test is an important next step in the fight against Covid-19.”

The company is currently working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an emergency use authorisation of the test. It intends to launch the test in early May in countries that accept the CE mark approval.