Standing together to combat COVID-19

Added: 15th May 2020 by Roche

We at Roche UK are proud of our heritage in advancing science to improve the lives of people. This has never been more important than now.

During this pandemic, our goal is to do everything we can to minimise its impact on those affected and the brilliant people who work tirelessly to treat and care for them.

This update explains what we are doing to achieve this.

Our scientific advances would not exist without people: whether our own, in the NHS, our partners within healthcare, academia, patient groups, our customers and suppliers.

Every single person in every one of those groups is facing a unique challenge.

Above all, the health and safety of our people, our partners and customers is our main priority. We hope that everyone who reads this, and their families, are safe and well.

Diagnostic testing for COVID-19

We are proud to have developed two diagnostic tests to help identify patients who have, or have had, novel coronavirus. Roche Diagnostics has formed a partnership with the UK Government to help the NHS scale up its clinical testing for COVID-19 across the whole of the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales).

Within this partnership, Roche Diagnostics is providing its PCR test – performed using a simple swab – as well as the platforms in NHS laboratories on which that test runs to provide a result. This is part of the first pillar of the Government’s testing strategy. The UK-wide roll-out is being coordinated by Public Health England on behalf of the UK Government, working in partnership with NHS England and NHS providers from the devolved nations. Since March 28, 13 laboratories have already gone live with the new Roche Diagnostics test across the UK and Ireland, with more to come.

We have also been working collaboratively with the Health Service Executive and the National Clinical Program for Pathology (NCPP) to increase testing capacity within the Republic of Ireland. This includes installation of a new, fully-automated PCR testing platform at the National Virus Reference Laboratory in Dublin.

We are now collaborating with public health bodies to validate our new antibody test, which can detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in people who have been exposed to the virus, and our aim is to commence a phased roll-out across the UK from mid-May.

Investigating treatment options

While there are currently no approved treatment options for the treatment of COVID-19, we are actively involved in understanding the potential of our existing portfolio.

As part of this, Roche has announced the initiation of COVACTA, a global Phase III clinical trial that has been approved by the FDA and MHRA to evaluate the safety and efficacy of one of our medicines plus standard of care in hospitalised adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. This is the first global study in this setting and there are eight UK sites participating in the study. Separately we are also taking part in the world’s biggest pandemic study, RECOVERY, looking at whether existing medicines can be used to combat Covid-19, and REMAP-CAP, a second Government-endorsed study.

In parallel to our participation in this trial, we have also been in dialogue with the MHRA and the NHS (across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) to understand their strategy for dealing with the pandemic. We hope that by working closely together we can support them in a way which offers the best outcomes for patients and relieves pressure on the NHS, Government and frontline healthcare workers.