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Roche Says Covid May Linger With Up to 500 Million Annual Cases

This content was published on September 14, 2021 - 15:18

(Bloomberg) -- Roche Holding AG sees a high likelihood that Covid-19 will become seasonal and endemic, with 200 million to 500 million new infections each year. 

The disease probably won’t become another “common cold,” Barry Clinch, global head of infectious disease clinical development, said on a conference call with analysts. Roche will keep working on Covid treatments and diagnostics because it believes there will be a need for them, he said. 

The virus will “become easier to manage over time” but will “still need management,” Clinch said. An optimistic scenario where cases plummet is less likely, as is a pessimistic one where constant mutations make the disease unpredictable, he said.

Sales of Covid diagnostics and tests have helped prop up revenue as the Swiss company seeks to move beyond the loss of patents for a trio of cancer drugs that fueled its growth for more than a decade. Roche also sells an antibody cocktail to treat Covid together with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and is working on an antiviral pill. 

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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