US approves Roche test for HIV and hepatitus
US authorities have approved a test developed by Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche that can detect both HIV and hepatitis viruses, the Basel-based company said on Friday.
The Cobas Taqscreen MPX is the only test approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that can simultaneously detect the HIV, hepatitis B and C viruses in human blood and plasma, Roche said.
Having a single test eliminates "the need for consecutive rounds of testing" Roche said, stressing that it could shorten the time it takes to reach a crucial diagnosis of the killer viruses.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which causes AIDS, has killed some 39 million people since it emerged in the 1980s.
Hepatitis B and C, which are transmitted from infected mothers to newborn babies by unsafe injections during medical procedures and drug use, or unsafe sex, kill more than a million people each year.
Roche is a leader in the global blood and plasma screening market using so-called nucleic acid-based techniques, which allow earlier detection of virus or bacteria infections in antibody tests.
That market is worth an estimated 660 million euros ($779 million) worldwide.