Image of COVID-19 test kit shared as newly developed ‘coronavirus vaccine’ by Roche

A message circulating on WhatsApp claims that US scientists have developed a vaccine for coronavirus. It claims that President Donald Trump has announced that “Roche Medical Company” will launch the vaccine this sunday. “Great news! Carona virus vaccine ready. Able to cure patient within 3 hours after injection. Hats off to US Scientists. Right now Trump announced that Roche Medical Company will launch the vaccine next Sunday, and millions of doses are ready from it,” reads the viral message.

It is also viral on Twitter and Facebook.

Alt News has received several requests on its official Android application to fact-check the claim.

Fact-check

First of all, no vaccine has yet been developed for coronavirus but is still either in the trial stage or research is underway. Alt News had earlier debunked a video which was claimed to be the announcement of the launch of coronavirus vaccine manufactured by drugmaker Roche. A clipped video of the press conference, where CEO of Roche Diagnostics spoke about testing and NOT the vaccine, was shared on social media. You can read our detailed fact-check here.

Does the photo represent coronavirus vaccine?

A Google search revealed that it’s not a vaccine but a test kit for the novel coronavirus, technically known as SARS-CoV-2. “SGTi-flex COVID-19 IgM/IgG is a gold nanoparticle-based immunochromatographic test kit for qualitative determination of COVID-19’s IgM and IgG antibodies in human whole blood (finger prick or venous), serum or plasma.”, says the website of the test kit manufacturer Sugentech. According to the about-us section, Sugentech, a Republic of Korea-based manufacturer, “develops in-vitro diagnostic systems and products based on BT-IT-NT convergence technology.”

SD Biosensor is another Republic of Korea-based company which manufactures test kits for “qualitative presumptive detection of specific IgM and IgG to 2019 novel coronavirus”.

Therefore, an image of a novel coronavirus test kit was shared on social media to claim that US scientists have developed a vaccine for COVID-19 and that Swiss drugmaker Roche Diagnostics will launch the vaccine next Sunday.

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