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Medical lab announces first consumer-ordered antibody test for coronavirus

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FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, U.S. health regulators OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

SECAUCUS, NJ (WBTW) – A medical lab announced the first consumer-ordered virus antibody test in the United States.

Quest Diagnostics announced the test Tuesday, saying in a press release people can purchase the test “for themselves online, without visiting a doctor’s office, through QuestDirect, the consumer-initiated testing business of Quest Diagnostics” beginning Tuesday.

“The COVID-19 Immune Response test is available at GetQuestTest.com,” Quest Diagnostics says. “With QuestDirect, an individual can request the test and purchase it online. Each test request is reviewed and, if appropriate, an order for testing is issued by a licensed physician. Individuals have the opportunity to speak with a licensed physician about their results.”

“With the QuestDirect service, individuals may gain insight into whether or not they have been exposed to COVID-19 and have developed antibodies,” the lab also says. “According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, although we do not yet know whether the development of antibodies provides protection from re-infection, or how long such protection lasts, COVID-19 antibody testing may indicate whether ‘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.’ Antibody testing uses blood serum specimens and is sometimes referred to as serology testing.”

“Test results are available in an easy-to-read report on MyQuest, the company’s secure patient portal accessible on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Test results are available 1-2 days on average after providing a blood draw,” the lab adds. “After purchasing the service online, an individual will be prompted to schedule an appointment for a blood draw at one of the 2,200 patient service centers Quest Diagnostics operates around the United States. For the safety of our patients and employees, individuals must not have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 for at least 10 days; wear a face mask; and pass a contact-less temperature check.”

“Antibody testing is not intended for use in individuals with an active COVID-19 infection, including individuals with symptoms,” the lab further says. “Patients suspected of having or confirmed to have active COVID-19 infection or disease may not visit Quest patient service centers, which are not equipped to collect the necessary respiratory specimens for molecular COVID-19 diagnostic testing. Patients who believe they may have COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to contact their healthcare provider.”

According to the Quest Direct website, tests cost $119.

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