The pharmaceutical company Roche in Penzberg has developed and launched a new rapid test for the detection of a corona infection. It has also been available in Germany since this week.
- The pharmaceutical company Roche in Penzberg has developed and launched a new rapid test for the detection of a corona infection.
- It has also been available in Germany since this week.
- Only people with the corresponding symptoms should be tested.
Penzberg - Good news from the Oberland: With a new rapid test, the pharmaceutical company Roche is gaining a head start in containing the corona pandemic. According to Roche, the test takes about three and a half hours . This refers to the pure test duration , without the logistics of the sample from the family doctor to the laboratory and without the data transfer back to the family doctor. "We are currently assuming the test will be very reliable, " says Johannes Ritter, Head of Communication at Roche Penzberg.
The problem at the moment: All laboratories in Germany are overloaded , because the evaluation of the samples has previously taken up to 24 hours. This is why tests are needed that will give a quick result in order to relieve the labor force. At the same time, a quick test saves time: Because only if the result is positive can an infected person be quarantined - thereby protecting others.
Corona virus: "The test is not a quick test that ..."
At Roche, one thing is clear from the start: “The test is not a quick test that patients can carry out themselves, and neither is the GP. It is a test for exclusive use in the laboratory, ”says Ritter. And even if the test "represents a significant reaction to the Covid 19 pandemic ", press spokesman Ritter is curbing the euphoria: "Due to the increasing number of infections and suspected cases, the demand for tests, additional devices and other consumables will become a supply today and for the foreseeable future Roche therefore strongly recommends testing only people with the appropriate symptoms.
The new test is being manufactured in the United States for the global market . Since March 13, it has been approved by the US authority FDA and thus also for Europe. It has also been available in Germany since this week. The biological and chemical input materials required for this - including reagents, enzymes or buffers - are manufactured at the site in Penzberg (Weilheim-Schongau district). According to Ritter, inventory is constantly checked and production is increased at the same time to ensure that the supply chain remains stable. "But due to the very high demand for reagents and consumables, the short-term supply situation can be difficult in some cases."
Corona virus: Device systems evaluate the test fully automatically
For the Roche test , a swab on the nose or in the throat is taken in people suspected of being infected. Then the sample is evaluated fully automatically with the two device systems Cobas 6800 and Cobas 8800. These are large laboratory devices that can only be operated by trained personnel. According to Roche, this means that a large number of tests can be carried out simultaneously in a short time. “The Cobas 6800 system delivers 384 results in eight hours and 1440 results in an overnight run in 24 hours. With the Cobas 8800 system, there are even 1056 results in eight hours and 1824 results in the overnight run, ”says Ritter. However, there are currently only around 120 of these devices in Germany. At Roche, it is expected that many locations - in laboratories and hospitals - will add more depending on the availability of the test.
Roche also sells another PCR-based Covid-19 (polymerase chain reaction) test developed by Berlin-based research company Tib Molbiol. This test is possible with the help of another Roche system device, the Lightcycler 480. All system reagents for this test are also manufactured in Penzberg. However, this is also not a quick test that patients can perform themselves, says Ritter. Roche is not active in the field of vaccine development.
Coronavirus: Many Roche workers in their home office
As in many other companies, the work situation in the Penzberg plant is currently extremely low. Of the other 6400 employees, only around 1500 are on the factory premises. Anyone who does not have to be personally present works in the home office . The employees who work in production and research at the site act in accordance with the strict hygiene and safety rules. All casinos are closed, the shuttle buses are closed, and meetings are only taking place virtually. "We make sure that the risk of infection of our employees is reduced as much as possible," emphasizes Ritter.
The corona virus is spreading more and more in the United States. Donald Trump has now explained why there are more confirmed cases there than in any other country. In Bavaria, the virus broke a sound barrier in the number of deaths.