Roche CEO says demand “very high” for COVID-19 antibody test

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Orders are pouring in for Roche Holding’s new COVID-19 antibody test after the Swiss company won U.S. approval to deploy the tool, Chief Executive Officer Severin Schwan said Tuesday.

“Governments are contacting us, our customers are contacting us,” he told CNNMoney Switzerland. “They are pretty impressed by the accuracy of this test and accordingly the demand is very high.”

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the test for emergency use in the U.S. and in countries accepting the European Union’s CE mark, which include Switzerland. Announcing the decision on Sunday, the company promised a swift scale-up, with plans to produce tens of millions of tests already this month.

That could add heft to efforts around the world to determine how widely the virus has spread and whether a person has been exposed, potentially giving them some immunity. Governments are eager for such information to help them make decisions about phasing out social distancing measures and rebooting their economies.