LabCorp launches COVID-19 test to track neutralizing antibodies

LabCorp is launching a new test for COVID-19 antibodies, specifically targeting those used by the immune system to inhibit the novel coronavirus. 

The testing giant says these readings can be used to help develop vaccines and measure their effectiveness as well as to screen donations of convalescent plasma for therapeutic use. The company plans to make its PhenoSense assay available to biopharma companies, hospitals and blood banks.

The test is based on the platform LabCorp has used to help evaluate previous vaccine candidates for viral infections such as HIV, Ebola, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, according to Paul Kirchgraber, CEO of the company’s Covance drug development business.

Earlier this month, Covance launched a service to connect potential participants to COVID-19 research studies, including patients with a current infection as well as those who have recovered or been exposed.

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“There are currently hundreds of COVID-19-related clinical trials underway or planned to begin in the near future, and we recognize that many patients may not know how to go about finding information about a clinical trial,” said Michael Brooks, president of clinical development and commercialization solutions for Covance. 

Through the company’s website, participants would be notified of studies run by Covance as well as those listed on the repository. 

“People who choose to participate in a clinical trial are true medical heroes,” said Brooks. “It is only through well-designed clinical research that we will find effective treatments and vaccines against COVID-19.”

Since launching its PCR-based services in March, LabCorp said it has performed more than 4 million molecular tests, with a current rate of 130,000 per day. And, after offering antibody tests in late April, the company has performed 1.4 million tests, with a stated capacity of 300,000 per day.