Abbott Laboratories is slated to provide millions of IgG lab-based antibody tests to U.K. government in the latest chapter of the COVID-19 story. The Abbott Park, IL-based company has already shipped 800,000 tests to National Health Service (NHS) laboratories across the U.K.
Abbott said its SARS-CoV-2 IgG will be available on its ARCHITECT i1000SR and i2000SR and Alinity i laboratory instruments. As one of the most widely used laboratory systems in the world, the ARCHITECT system can run up to 100 to 200 tests per hour to help hospitals and laboratories with reliable antibody testing during the pandemic.
The company said the SARS-CoV-2 IgG test specifically identifies the IgG antibody, which is a protein that the body produces in the late stages of infection and may remain up to months and possibly years after a person has recovered.
Abbott designed its test to detect the IgG antibody specifically as it can better help physicians determine recovery from infection, vs. looking at a combination of antibodies. The company said it was also developing an IgM antibody test.
In a release, Mary Rodgers, PhD, a Virus Hunter on Abbott's global discovery program, who identifies new or unknown pathogens to develop tests for these new threats, said:"Since this is a new virus, there are still lots of questions. An antibody test provides an important piece of information that will tell if someone has previously been infected and recovered. We will see if a person has antibodies, but we'll need to learn more to tell us how long they remain and what they mean. A positive test may provide peace of mind that someone has recovered from the illness, but people should still be vigilant about following guidelines."
Abbott has been at the center of the conversation regarding COVID-19 testing. Some of it has been controversial. Most recently, several independent research teams have called into question the accuracy of Abbott’s ID NOW COVID-19 test.
However, the company released interim data on Thursday of an ongoing multi-site clinical study in urgent care clinics that indicates its ID NOW COVID-19 rapid test is showing strong agreement to lab-based molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) instruments. The company said the interim results are demonstrating ID NOW COVID-19 test performance is ≥94.7% in positive agreement (sensitivity) and ≥98.6% negative agreement (specificity) when compared to two different lab-based PCR reference methods.