Quest Diagnostics said this week it has started antibody testing for COVID-19 using blood samples at its more than 2,200 patient service centers across the United States.
The Secaucus-based diagnostic information services company said the service will provide health care workers throughout the nation with access to coronavirus antibodies as well as molecular diagnostic laboratory testing.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, COVID-19 antibody testing may mean that “the person has been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity to the coronavirus.”
The Quest tests, which will be initially based on tests from Abbott and EUROIMMUN, were developed for high throughput lab environments and help detect the presence of immunoglobulin class G. IgG antibody response typically happens by day 14 after symptom onset, Quest said.
In addition, Quest is seeking additional platforms to increase its testing capacity further.
“As the FDA has indicated, antibody testing has the potential to help health care professionals identify people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and who have developed an immune response,” Jay G. Wohlgemuth, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Quest Diagnostics, said. “In addition, FDA has indicated that antibody testing can help identify those who could contribute a part of their blood, called convalescent plasma, which may provide an avenue for possible treatment for those who are seriously ill from the coronavirus.”
Quest said testing should scale up over coming weeks. Its laboratory testing capacity is expected to expand from 70,000 tests per day by the end of this week to about 150,00o a day by early-May.
Testing is only available to patients who meet certain criteria, such as a test requisition from a health care provider, are asymptomatic, lack a fever and more. Appointments should be made ahead of time at www.QuestDiagnostics.com.