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Roche to boost monthly COVID-19 PCR test production to 70 mln by July

ZURICH, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Roche will double monthly production of PCR tests to detect active COVID-19 infections to 40 million in the first quarter and roughly 70 million by July, its diagnostics chief said on Thursday.

“We will see still a lot of testing, particularly in the first half of the year,” diagnostics chief Thomas Schinecker said on a call. “We’ll see how things develop in the second half of the year, currently it’s looking likely that testing will remain rather high for the remainder of 2021.”

Roche can also make 100 million rapid antigen tests monthly, but is now making only about half that via South Korean partner SD Biosensor, in part because it does not yet sell them in the United States. It can make up to 100 million antibody tests, too, to detect of somebody has had a past coronavirus infection or if they have an immune response to a vaccine, though demand is currently around 10-15 million monthly, Schinecker said. (Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields)

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