Roche outs a quick COVID-19 self-test kit for home use that detects Omicron and Delta variants
A new rapid cross-strain COVID-19 test that you can take at home has passed through the emergency authorization route at the FDA, and its creator Roche claims that "the test is able to produce accurate, reliable and quick results in as few as 20 minutes for SARS-CoV-2 and all known variants of concern, including Omicron." Roche's new antigen test involves a quick nasal swab, and the results can be ready in less than half an hour. The possibility for self-testing is a very important arrow in the diagnostics quiver against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of COVID-19 which takes much less time to infect people than its Delta predecessor, and has a way shorter incubation period. As per Thomas Schinecker, CEO of Roche Diagnostics:
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to shed light on the critically important role that rapid self-testing plays in empowering individuals to protect their personal health and the health of their families and communities. At this inflection point in the American public’s fight against COVID-19, we are proud to have worked in close collaboration with the US Government to introduce and expand access to accurate, reliable, and high-quality at-home tests.
Omicron can start showing its symptoms in as little as two or three days after infection, making rapid antigen tests like Roche's new at-home one a viable alternative to the more expensive and sensitive PCR tests which can detect the presence of the virus before the infected has begun to show symptoms. Roche's tests are one of the most accurate in the industry when it comes to COVID-19 detection, say peer-reviewed studies, and the company says its at-home antigen self-test will be produced en masse as soon as this month.
Thanks to its partnership with SD Biosensor for mass production and the participation in the National Institutes of Health Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Independent Test Assessment Program (ITAP), Roche will be able to scale the antigen test's production and availability at pharmacies and retail locations to tens of millions in January. Roche will also offer its at-home rapid test together with the NAVIFY Pass program that allows employers or organizations to receive and store the test's result which would help their in-person work strategies.