Roche advises limiting COVID-19 testing to patients with symptoms

Roche said Tuesday that in a bid to safeguard the supply of COVID-19 tests, it "strongly advises" that testing be focused on patients exhibiting signs and symptoms of the disease, and not be done broadly on the healthy population. The company's cobas SARS-CoV-2 test became the first commercial test for the virus in the US earlier this month when it received FDA emergency-use authorisation. It is also available in markets accepting the CE mark.

At the current maximum production rate, Roche estimated that it can supply millions of tests each month on the cobas 6800/8800 instruments and on the MagnaPure/Lightcycler solution, but that it is working to increase that quantity. The company added that while it is committed to ensuring adequate supply of tests during the pandemic, it is calling on governments "to work closely with industry to keep manufacturing and supply running."  

Roche said it is looking to deliver "as many tests as possible" within the supply limits, and making them available to "areas where they can be immediately effective." The company indicated that tests will be shipped from its production sites to locations with appropriate infrastructure where "testing can begin without delay."

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