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Roche testing for coronavirus and flu simultaneously

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the Basel-based life sciences company Roche authorization to use a test that simultaneously tests for the coronavirus and flu infections. Roche is also launching a rapid antigen test for coronavirus.

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Roche has developed a testing process for the simultaneous qualitative detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A and Influenza B in patients. This can be done with a single sample. According to a press release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized Roche to use this test in laboratories with the relevant certification. It has done so through Emergency Use Authorization, which means final authorization and approval have not yet been granted.

“With the approaching flu season, this new test is particularly important as SARS-CoV-2 and influenza infections can hardly be differentiated by symptoms alone. Now, with a single test, healthcare professionals can confidently provide the right diagnosis and most effective treatment plan for their patients,” said Thomas Schinecker, CEO of Roche Diagnostics.

The test is carried out with Roche’s widely-available, fully-automated cobas 6800/8800 systems, which provide up to 96 results in just three hours. Roche is thereby expanding its portfolio to include solutions for the fight against COVID-19. As recently as 1 September, a rapid antigen test for coronavirus had been announced. It will be launched at the end of this month. Roche intends to apply to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization for this test as well.

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