Coronavirus Antibody Test Launches

Quest antibody testing helps identify people who have been exposed to COVID-19 disease 
blood vial with gloves

The world's leading provider of diagnostic information services announced that it has begun to perform antibody testing for coronavirus infections using blood samples.

Antibody testing is sometimes referred to as serology testing.

With the new service, Quest Diagnostics said on April 22, 2020, it now offers healthcare providers in the USA access to COVID-19 antibody testing services.

Quest expects to report antibody test results within 1-2 days from specimen collection, depending on demand.

Testing is available only to patients who have a test requisition from a healthcare provider, are asymptomatic, have been asymptomatic for at least 10 days, lack a fever, and are wearing a face mask.

Quest says ‘test results should be interpreted in connection with other factors, such as symptoms and history.’

‘Test results signify that antibodies are present, but protective immunity based on these results has yet to be established in clinical trials. Antibodies developed by the body in response to viral infections may provide potential immunity against future infection.’

‘Antibody tests by themselves are of limited value in the immediate diagnosis of a patient where COVID-19 infection is suspected.’

The new Quest Diagnostics antibody service uses tests developed for high-throughput lab environments. Initially, Quest is providing the service based on tests from Abbott and EUROIMMUN, a PerkinElmer company. 

Quest Diagnostics has completed independent validation studies on both tests. 

Both tests aid in detecting the presence of immunoglobulin class G (IgG). 

IgG antibody response typically develops by 14 days after symptom onset. 

In addition, Quest also continues to pursue other platforms that could enable it to increase testing capacity further.

"As the FDA has indicated, antibody testing has the potential to help healthcare professionals identify people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and who have developed an immune response," said Jay G. Wohlgemuth, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Quest Diagnostics, in a press release. 

"In addition, the 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 expects to scale up testing over the coming weeks. 

Laboratory capacity is expected to expand from approximately 70,000 tests per day by the end of this week to approximately 150,000 tests a day by early-May 2020. 

Specimen collection for antibody testing is available at Quest Patient Service Centers. Quest Diagnostics operates approximately 2,200 patient service centers across the United States.

Appointments for antibody testing should be scheduled ahead of time through a Quest affiliate patient portal at UltaLabs.com.  

Healthcare providers can also collect blood specimens in their offices for patients for testing by Quest Diagnostics.

Quest Diagnostics annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States, and our 47,000 employees understand that, in the right hands and with the right context, our diagnostic insights can inspire actions that transform lives.

COVID-19 antibody testing news published by Precision Vaccinations.