Abbott Laboratories is launching a new blood test that aims to help doctors better treat patients recovering from COVID-19 by determining more recent infections.
The North Chicago medical device maker’s other antibody tests aim to show whether patients were exposed to the novel coronavirus based on the long-lasting infection-fighting proteins in their blood. The latest test, which Abbott today announced was authorized for emergency use by the FDA, is designed to detect antibodies that last only weeks to months after infection.
“Abbott has developed tests to detect the virus at each stage of infection, so doctors and their patients are equipped with knowledge of how they are responding to the virus and progressing through recovery,” CEO Robert Ford said in a statement. “Antibody tests will continue to play an important role to better understand the virus, the prevalence of COVID-19 in an area and where a patient may be in their recovery.”
Painting a more complete picture of where patients are in their recovery helps health care providers determine if treatment, isolation or follow-up visits are needed, the statement says.
Abbott’s data demonstrated 99.5 percent specificity (correctly generating a negative result) and 95 percent sensitivity (correctly generating a positive result) for patients tested 15 days after symptoms started.
The new COVID test is Abbott’s seventh to get emergency use authorization. Other tests include molecular tests that are used to detect infection in real time.