Roche launches diagnostic test to detect variations in coronavirus

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Zurich | Swiss pharmaceutical group Roche announced on Tuesday the launch of a new diagnostic test, designed to detect variations in the coronavirus for research purposes.

This new test, intended for laboratory research, should help scientists monitor mutations in the virus, their prevalence and potential impact on the diagnosis of infections, vaccines and therapies, the Swiss group said in a statement.

Called Cobas®SARS-CoV-2 Variant Set 1, this test makes it possible to detect and differentiate the different mutations observed in the British, South African and Brazilian variants.

“Continuous surveillance is essential for public health,” said Thomas Schinecker, director of Roche’s Diagnostics division, quoted in the press release.

Tracking these variants helps health systems determine the measures to be taken to combat COVID-19, explains the Swiss group.

The test is designed for use on its Cobas 6800/8800 machines, widely distributed in analytical laboratories and hospitals.

Roche, world number one in oncology, relies on a diagnostics division which represents a little less than a quarter of its turnover.

Since the start of the pandemic, this division has launched around fifteen tests to detect the coronavirus, its range including molecular tests, antibody detection tests or a test to distinguish coronavirus infection from influenza.