• Monday, Dec 05, 2022
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Roche’s coronavirus test 100% accurate, says UK facility

  • Published at 04:29 am May 15th, 2020
covid  testing
Photo: Bigstock

The Swiss pharmaceutical company’s serology test is a very positive development, according to British public health leaders

The new coronavirus antibody test by Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche has been found to be “highly specific” and “100% accurate,” according to public health leaders in the UK.

Scientific experts at the Public Health England (PHE)’s Porton Down facility carried out an independent evaluation last week, of a new antibody blood test developed by Roche, reports Science Focus.

The examination found that Roche’s serology test was highly specific and had an accuracy of 100%.

The findings have been hailed as a “very positive development” in combating the coronavirus outbreak, the report said. 

The test has been designed to help determine if a person has been exposed to the virus that causes Covid-19, and whether they have developed antibodies against it.

The detection of these antibodies could help to indicate if a person has gained immunity against the virus, Science Focus said. 

“We were confident that good quality antibody tests would become available when they were needed,” Prof John Newton, national coordinator of the UK Coronavirus Testing Program, said.  

“Last week, scientific experts at PHE Porton Down carried out an independent evaluation of the new Roche Sars-CoV-2 serology assay in record time, concluding that it is a highly specific assay with 100% specificity,” Prof Newton said.

“This is a very positive development because such a highly specific antibody test is a very reliable marker of past infection.

“This in turn may indicate some immunity to future infection, although the extent to which the presence of antibodies indicates immunity remains unclear,” he further said.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was delighted that devices were progressing through validation and plans were in place to roll out antibody testing.

It added that an announcement would be made “in due course.”

“Antibody testing is an important part of our strategy to counter the spread of Covid-19 and to help us understand who has had the disease,” a DHSC spokesperson said.

“In addition to the recent huge expansion of the UK’s swab-based coronavirus testing capacity, we are exploring the use of antibody testing across the NHS and ultimately the wider public,” the spokesperson added.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last week that the UK was in talks with Roche about a “very large-scale roll-out” of coronavirus antibody testing.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street press briefing on May 4, Hancock said: “Today, Roche, the Swiss global diagnostics company, made a very positive announcement about progress with their antibody test, and we’re in discussions with them about a very large-scale roll-out of antibody testing, as well as with some others who may be able to bring this forward.”

But Hancock acknowledged that there had been problems with antibody testing, having previously said the UK would order 17.5 million home testing kits only to find they did not work, the report further said.

“There has been false hope before in antibody testing, and so we will make announcements when we are absolutely ready,” Hancock also said.

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