The Swiss pharmaceutical group Roche announced on Friday the launch of a quantitative test that measures the level of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among individuals who have been exposed to the virus in order to help laboratories in particular to develop their vaccines.
Called Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2, this serological test should help assess the immune response to a vaccine by measuring the level of antibodies secreted, the Swiss group said in a statement. Carried out from a blood sample, this test makes it possible in particular to measure the amount of antibodies against the spike protein (protein S), a protein point which surrounds the membrane of the capsid of the virus causing SARS, and which allows virus to enter human cells.
The majority of vaccines currently under study seek to trigger an antibody response against this protein, recalled the Swiss group, stressing that this test should help to measure their effectiveness during clinical trials. Before administering a vaccine, it is important to know the level of antibodies present in order to measure the effects that the vaccine causes, argued Roche, stressing that this test thus has a role to play in the development of the tests. vaccines.
The test will be launched in markets that accept the European CE conformity mark, Roche said, adding that an emergency clearance application has also been filed in the United States.
In a separate press release, the Swiss group, active in oncology but also in diagnostic products, unveiled the results of a phase III study concerning its drug tocilizumab. According to this study entitled Empacta, this treatment marketed under the name Actemra reduces the risk of using artificial ventilation in the case of individuals hospitalized for pneumonia linked to Covid-19.
In clinical trials with 389 people, the likelihood of using a ventilator or of death was 44% lower among subjects given this treatment in addition to standard care compared to those given a placebo. This reference treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is one of the avenues explored by the medical profession to take care of hospitalized patients. In July, however, this treatment suffered a setback in another phase III study, called Covacta, which involved subjects hospitalized with a severe form of pneumonia linked to Covid-19.
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