(Reuters) – Molecular testing company Qiagen NV said on Tuesday it would ramp up its global capacity to produce certain chemical kits used to test COVID-19, aiming to support more than 6.5 million tests a month by April end.

The German company, which is being bought by Thermo Fisher Scientific in an $11.5 billion deal, supplies RNA extraction kits used to prepare patient samples for some coronavirus tests.

The kits are used to extract a kind of genetic material called RNA from patient blood or tissue samples, so that any virus can be identified. They are not specific to the coronavirus, but are used for routine tests such as HIV.

The company said it aims to support over 10 million tests by June end, up from its historical manufacturing capacity that supports about 1.5 million tests a month.

Plans are under way at its sites in Europe and the United States to reach more than 20 million patient tests a month by the end of the year, the company said.

The production update follows the company’s statement last week that it had increased production of the kits by 70% amid “challenging” demand after a report that shortages could disrupt testing in the United States.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur



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