By Ludwig Burger and Alexander Hübner
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Siemens Healthineers stands ready to ramp up production of its antibody test to more than 50 million per month from June as governments across the world are keen to identify those who may have developed immunity to the coronavirus.
The German group, which previously laid out plans to supply more than 25 million tests from June, said on Monday it was poised to increase production further at sites in Walpole, Massachusetts and in Glasgow, Delaware, depending on how the pandemic evolves.
Healthineers, which is competing for orders from large labs with Roche and Abbott, said it was pursuing Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the tests and that its tests have met the criteria for the CE Mark that enables sale in Europe.
The 10-minute test that runs on Healthineers’ automated lab gear has been demonstrated to detect all individuals who had a coronavirus infection at least two weeks prior to the test, the company said.
The test also correctly identifies 99.8% of those that had no prior coronavirus infection, meaning that about 2 out of 1,000 without exposure to the virus may be wrongly flagged as having developed antibodies.
Mass antibody testing is being considered by many countries as a way to introduce more tailored social distancing measures after economies have been devastated by lockdowns.
(Editing by Thomas Seythal and Thomas Escritt)