SECAUCUS, N.J., April 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Beginning today, individuals can purchase COVID-19 antibody testing for themselves online, without visiting a doctor's office, through QuestDirect, the consumer-initiated testing business of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services.
The new service broadens access to COVID-19 antibody testing in the United States. On April 21, Quest announced the launch of its COVID-19 antibody test service for healthcare providers to order on behalf of patients. 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. 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.
"With the introduction of this test and service, Quest is making it easy for people to access quality testing for antibodies to the virus which causes COVID-19, with access to physician interpretation and steering into needed care," said Jay Wohlgemuth, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Quest Diagnostics. "While the science on COVID-19 is evolving, testing for antibodies may identify people who have likely been exposed to COVID-19 and might have mounted an immune response to the virus. Our goal is to empower individuals and their physicians to make informed decisions about their risk of infection and of spreading the virus."
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.
Quest is working in collaboration with PWNHealth, an independent national network of physicians providing clinical oversight for QuestDirect services, including delivery of results and post-test telehealth support to patients.
Blood Draws at 2,200 Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Centers
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. 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.
About Our Commitment to Consumer Empowered Health Quest Diagnostics has long been at the forefront of the movement for consumer empowerment in healthcare. The company was among the first diagnostic information services providers to offer free access to test results online and other channels. Its mobile app and patient portal, called MyQuest, provides millions of people a way to securely access and track their test results and other health data. The company's QuestDirect service provides dozens of tests for conditions ranging from heart health and sexually transmitted diseases while its Blueprint Fit service helps amateur and professional athletes assess their performance. Through its collaborations with Safeway and Walmart, Quest Diagnostics operates approximately 200 patient service centers in retail store locations, for the utmost in convenient access. Quest Diagnostics also provides next generation sequencing and genotyping services for Ancestry.
About COVID-19 Testing by Quest Diagnostics Quest Diagnostics is at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working to broaden access to laboratory insights to help us all lead healthier lives. We provide both molecular diagnostic and antibody serology tests to aid in the diagnosis of COVID-19 and immune response. Our COVID-19 test services are based on tests that have received or are expected to receive FDA emergency use authorization and which also meet our high standards for quality. We are providing these test services under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. We provide data on COVID-19 testing to various federal and state public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and participate in studies with government and private institutions, aiding COVID-19 public health response and research. Through our team of dedicated phlebotomists, couriers, air fleet team, and laboratory professionals, Quest Diagnostics won't stop until patients and communities across the United States have ready access to quality COVID-19 testing.
Antibody serology tests are intended for use as an aid in identifying individuals with an adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2, indicating recent or prior infection. Results are for the detection of SARS CoV-2 antibodies. IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 are generally detectable in blood several days after initial infection, although the duration of time antibodies are present post-infection is not well characterized. At this time, it is unknown how long antibodies persist following infection and if the presence of antibodies confers protective immunity. Individuals may have detectable virus present for several weeks following having IgG antibodies.
According to the FDA, results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection or to inform infection status. Negative results do not rule out acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. Testing with a SARSCoV-2 RT-PCR should be considered if acute infection is suspected or otherwise to rule out infection. Positive results may be due to past or present infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains. The serology antibody tests run by Quest Diagnostics are either approved by the FDA under an emergency use authorization, or were released for use under the FDA guidance, "Policy for Diagnostic Tests for Coronavirus Disease-2019 during the Public Health Emergency," updated March 16, 2020, and have not been reviewed by the FDA.
About Quest Diagnostics Quest Diagnostics empowers people to take action to improve health outcomes. Derived from the world's largest database of clinical lab results, our diagnostic insights reveal new avenues to identify and treat disease, inspire healthy behaviors and improve health care management. Quest 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. www.QuestDiagnostics.com