Swiss multinational healthcare company Roche has announced that it will be launching a new rapid antigen test capable of telling whether someone is infected with Covid-19 or flu, which can have very similar symptoms.
The test, which is intended to be used by healthcare professionals and is not available in self-test format, would be able to produce results within thirty minutes, the company stated in a press release on Monday.
"It is critical that healthcare professionals have the ability to quickly know whether a patient is infected with either coronavirus or the flu, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic extends into our flu season," Thomas Schinecker, CEO of Roche Diagnostics, stated.
"The combination rapid antigen test will help ensure that the right decisions are taken by healthcare providers to treat patients and ultimately prevent community spread," he added.
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The test is able to differentiate between a coronavirus infection and influenza viruses A and B infections in people who have symptoms consistent with both illnesses.
The Roche antigen test can reportedly also detect the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus and is expected to be available in Europe from January 2022. It will be launched in partnership with SD Biosensor, with whom Roche previously launched other rapid antigen tests.
The company will apply to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in early 2022 so that the test can also be used in the United States.