Roche (SWX: RO, ROG) today announced that it has launched its Cobas SARS-CoV-2 Variant Set 1 test to detect mutations in the COVID-19 virus.
The test is designed to differentiate mutations found in variants that originated in the U.K. (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351) and Brazil (P.1). It runs on its high-volume Cobas 6800/8800 systems and is a research use only laboratory test to help scientists track mutation prevalence and assess the potential impact on diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.
Studies of the new variants have suggested that the variants may be linked to increased disease transmissibility and possibly decreased therapeutic and vaccine efficacy, according to the company.
“Viruses naturally evolve over time. While most mutations do not have a clinical impact, some variants need to be tracked carefully as they seem to spread more easily and quickly,” Roche Diagnostics CEO Thomas Schinecker said in a news release. “Continued surveillance is essential for public health. Our latest solution provides laboratories a fast and efficient way to investigate these variants found in infected individuals and the potential impact on existing therapies, vaccines and tests.”
The company said existing diagnostic tests to detect SARS-CoV-2 are not affected by known mutations and remain accurate and effective in detecting active infections.