Testing times for Roche despite new Covid assay
The first test that can not only diagnose Covid but directly measure viral load has been granted emergency authorisation in the US – and its maker, Roche, needs the win. The cobas Sars-Cov-2 DuoA is a PCR test using nasal and nasopharyngeal samples that runs on the Swiss group’s cobas 6800 and 8800 systems, and should roll out in the US this month. Roche says that quantitative testing could identify infected patients earlier and more accurately than current tests. This could aid in the triage of patients, for instance by enabling swift administration of antivirals – a boon to vulnerable patients with pre-existing health conditions who need therapy fast. The launch of this test might do something to forestall the forecast drop in Roche’s test revenues. According to consensus data from Evaluate Medtech, Roche’s molecular diagnostics sales nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020 as it launched various Covid PCR tests to combat the burgeoning pandemic. However, the sellside forecasts that these sales will fall in 2022 and 2023, only returning to growth in 2024.