Abbott has launched its third test for coronavirus and is shipping tests to hospitals across the US. The test is a serology test called an antibody test – which the company claims could be a critical next step in battling this virus.
According to the company’s press statement, Abbott’s test helps to detect the IgG antibody to SARS-CoV-2. An antibody is a protein that the body produces in the late stages of infection and may remain for up to months and possibly years after a person has recovered. Detecting these IgG antibodies will help determine if a person was previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The new antibody test is to be used on Abbott’s ARCHITECT i1000SR and i2000SR laboratory instruments, which can run up to 100-200 tests an hour.
“Abbott made the test available as part of the US Food and Drug Administration’s notification without an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) pathway that was outlined for COVID-19 diagnostic tests during the public health emergency. Since then, the company has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA and CE Mark in Europe,” says John R Hackett, divisional vice president, Applied Research and Technology Diagnostics at Abbott.
He adds, “We’re significantly scaling up our manufacturing for antibody testing and expect to ship close to 1 million tests to US customers this week and 4 million of the antibody tests during April, and that’s just the start.”
Abbott plans to ship 20 million antibody tests in the US in June and beyond as we expand our testing capabilities to our Alinity i lab system.
This antibody test adds to Abbott’s existing COVID-19 molecular tests that are already being used – our m2000 lab test and our rapid, ID NOW point-of-care test.
Antibody tests, the next step in the COVID-19 battle
While molecular testing (such as Abbott’s m2000 and point-of-care tests) identifies people with the virus, antibody tests can tell whether someone has been previously infected.
This type of knowledge will enable scientists to better understand how long these antibodies stay in the body and if they provide immunity. This information can also help public health officials understand how widespread the outbreak is and could help support the development of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.
Although Abbott’s antibody test is new, the two ARCHITECT instruments it runs on are already being used for critical diagnostic tests in labs worldwide. More than 2,000 of the instruments are used in the US.
“Antibody testing has the potential to unlock a lot of unknowns about this novel virus. Having tests that can work in different healthcare settings is critical to our understanding of the virus and to helping give healthcare providers answers they need about their patients,” Hackett adds.