Quest Diagnostics is launching a coronavirus antibody test for the general public to help people learn if they've been exposed to COVID-19 and developed antibodies against it, the company announced on Tuesday. People -- without even visiting a doctor -- can buy this $119 test online. A doctor then reviews each test request. If the test is approved, the person will get their blood drawn at one of Quest's 2,200 patient service centers in the U.S. Local Quest patient centers are in Boston, Brookline, Quincy, Arlington, Melrose, Waltham, Danvers, Braintree, Weymouth, Norwood, Lowell, Andover and Chelmsford. Test results will be available in one to two days.
Gail Page, member of the Chembio Board of Directors and Interim CEO, joins'Fox and Friends.' Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday promised New York will launch "aggressive" testing for coronavirus antibodies this coming week. In his daily news briefing, Cuomo revealed that the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has approved New York's antibody test. He spoke from the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset; the Long Island institute has worked on developing an antibody test. "Now that we have the approved test, we're going to be rolling it out to do the largest survey of any state populated. That has been done," Cuomo said.
The UK has ordered 3.5 million antibody tests designed to reveal whether people have been infected with the new coronavirus. The UK's prime minister, Boris Johnson, who today announced he himself has tested positive for the virus, has said these tests will be a "game changer", but the reality is they might not have that much of an impact in the short term. Almost all testing for the virus around the world is based on looking for its genetic sequence. But such tests require nose or throat swabs to be taken by trained personnel and sent to a specialised lab for analysis, and there is a global shortage of equipment. Genetic tests also detect only active infections.
Around one in six people in London and one in 20 elsewhere in England have already had the coronavirus, the United Kingdom's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, as he announced plans for "antibody certificates". Data gathered from an antibody surveillance study suggests 17 percent of people in London and around five percent of people across England have tested positive for antibodies to coronavirus, he told the daily Downing Street briefing. This news comes as the government agreed to a deal with pharmaceutical firms Roche and Abbott for more than 10 million antibody tests, to see if people have had COVID-19. They will first be offered to health and social care staff as well as patients and care home residents. The tests are not without their critics.
About 1,000 Boston residents this week will be randomly tested for coronavirus antibodies to help "provide vital clues" about the spread of COVID-19 in the city, officials said on Sunday. The 1,000 residents will be from East Boston, Roslindale and Dorchester -- some of the city's hardest-hit neighborhoods, Mayor Martin Walsh said. This randomized testing is crucial, officials said, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 25% of people infected with the coronavirus are not showing symptoms. "It is our hope that by conducting this testing, we as a collective City will get a better understanding of the true prevalence of COVID-19 in our community," Walsh said in a statement. "The more we can expand our testing, the more we can learn how to use our medical resources more efficiently, and how we need to focus our current efforts to contain the virus."