(Reuters) – Laboratory and drug development services provider LabCorp said on Wednesday it would expand the availability of its antibody tests for the new coronavirus to more hospitals and healthcare organizations starting next week.
The tests, earlier made available mainly to healthcare workers in late March, aim to identify individuals exposed to the virus but without any visible symptoms by detecting the presence of antibodies to the virus in blood samples.
LabCorp said it offers separate tests to identify three major classes of antibodies for the virus.
Physicians would be able to direct asymptomatic patients to the company’s approximately 2,000 patient service centers for specimen collection for the antibody test, SARS-CoV-2 IgG, starting April 27, the company said.
While the tests are neither the sole basis for a diagnosis nor assurance of immunity, they could play a role in helping healthcare providers determine appropriate treatment for individuals suspected of having been infected with the virus, LabCorp’s Chief Medical Officer Brian Caveney said.
LabCorp said it expects to be able to perform several hundred thousand tests per week by mid-May, as more tests receive regulatory clearance for emergency use.
The antibody tests are in addition to LabCorp’s existing molecular test for COVID-19 that is already available nationwide through healthcare providers, the company said.
These antibody tests have not yet been reviewed by the FDA, but are in accordance with the public health emergency guidelines issued by the health regulator, the company said.
The company on Tuesday received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s clearance for at-home sample collection for its COVID-19 diagnostic kit, allowing patients to send in their nasal swab samples to the company’s labs for diagnosis.
(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)