Health care company rolling out 24M new COVID-19 antibody tests in April, June

1010 WINS Newsroom
April 15, 2020 - 11:58 am

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- An Illinois-based health care company is rolling out a new COVID-19 test this week, millions of which will be shipped across the country in the coming months. 

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    The “lab-based serology blood test,” Abbott’s third COVID-19 test, will use antibody detection to determine if a person has had COVID-19, the company said in a release Wednesday. 

    The company plans to start shipping out tests on Thursday, with 4 million tests expected to be distributed in April, 20 million in June and 20 million in each of the following months. 

    “Antibody testing is an important next step to tell if someone has been previously infected,” Abbot said in its release, noting that it “will provide more understanding of the virus, including how long antibodies stay in the body and if they provide immunity.” 

    “This type of knowledge could help support the development of treatments and vaccines,” it added. 

    Officials including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have said antibody testing will be integral to the process of reopening the country and gradually lifting the stringent social distancing measures that have been put into place. 

    “First of all, the key to reopening is going to be testing. I’ve said that from day one. It’s not going to be a light switch where you flip this economy like you flip a light switch,” Cuomo said at a news conference on April 10. 

    “It’s going to be a gradual, phased process, and it’s going to be reliant on testing: testing of antibodies, testing for diagnostic results, and testing on the scale that we have not done before,” he added.  

    Abbott has already released two COVID-19 tests, a “rapid, portable testing instrument” called ID NOW and a “high-volume laboratory instrument” called m2000, its website notes. 

    Its latest test will be used to detect the IgG antibody, a protein produced by someone in the late stages of COVID-19 that “may remain for up to months and possibly years after a person has recovered,” according to its release.

    In New York State, 499,143 people had been tested for COVID-19 as of Monday — 202,208 of whom tested positive, data from the state’s health department shows.

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