The agency is teaming up with Quest Diagnostics and will use the company’s antibody tests and data analytics services to research the disease.

Omar Ford

March 24, 2022

2 Min Read
Image courtesy of Chris Dorney / Alamy Stock Photo

COVID-19 mandates in the U.S. are loosening or in some cases the restrictions are being eliminated. However, one thing that remains strong is the desire to understand more about the respiratory disease, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2.

To that end, the Centers of Disease and Control and Prevention has contracted Quest Diagnostics to employ a comprehensive menu of COVID-19 antibody tests and data analytics services to research the disease. Quest won the $19.5 million contract in a competitive bid.

Secaucus, NJ-based Quest holds the distinction of being one of the first companies to win emergency use authorization for a COVID-19-related diagnostic.

The collaboration would help CDC in assessing the proportion of the population that has been infected by or vaccinated against COVID-19. To date, in the U.S. there have been nearly 81.5 million people who have been infected and more than 1 million people that have died from the disease, according to statistics from

This wouldn’t be the first time Quest and CDC have worked together on a COVID-19-related project. Early last year, Quest provided variant sequencing to help identify and track new variants. Quest and CDC also worked together research to assess the pandemic’s impact on nonprescribed fentanyl use in individuals with opioid use disorder and hepatitis C screening and diagnostic trends.

"From the earliest days of the pandemic, public-private collaboration has been essential to effective response to the COVID-19 threat," said Catherine Doherty, Senior Vice President, Group Executive – Clinical Franchise Solutions & Marketing, Quest Diagnostics. "Quest Diagnostics has a powerful combination of quality COVID-19 serological testing, national reach, and robust data analytics to deliver insights to inform public health strategies.

Serology or antibody tests drew a great deal of controversy during the onset of the pandemic. FDA. As early as April of 2020, FDA issued a letter warning to healthcare providers, letting them know the limitations of antibody tests. But the industry was quick to respond working out some of the issues associated with the tests.

CDC along with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission teamed up with Siemens Healthineers to standardize antibody tests.  Siemen Healthineers’s approach for standardizing SARS-CoV-2 assays revolved around anchoring each protein to a neutralization antibody titer—a level of antibody that presents to block the virus from entering cells in laboratory experiments.

The thresholds displayed in the standardized unit of measure for IgG—arising either from natural infection or vaccination—may likely contribute to a standardized interpretation of immunity through test results.


About the Author(s)

Omar Ford

Omar Ford is MD+DI's Editor-in-Chief. You can reach him at [email protected].


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