For $119, people can now purchase novel coronavirus antibody testing for themselves without having to visit a doctor’s office.
Quest Diagnostics launched QuestDirect on Tuesday, its consumer-initiated testing business through which individuals can request the antibody test and pay for the service online. Each request is reviewed and, if deemed appropriate, an order for testing is issued by a licensed physician and the consumer will schedule an appointment for a blood draw at one of the company’s 2,200 patient service centers around the United States.
On average, test results are available online via the company’s secure patient portal one to two days after the blood draw. Consumers will have the opportunity to speak with a licensed physician about their results, according to a press release from Quest Diagnostics.
Antibody testing cannot detect whether a patient is currently infected with the novel coronavirus, but it can indicate whether the individual was previously infected and developed the antibodies to fight the virus.
“While the science on COVID-19 is evolving, testing for antibodies may identify people who have likely been exposed to COVID-19 and might have mounted an immune response to the virus,” Dr. Jay Wohlgemuth, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Quest Diagnostics, said in a statement Tuesday.
The New Jersey-based diagnostic testing giant noted several limitations to the antibody testing, including that positive results may be due to past or present infection with other coronavirus strains which don’t cause COVID-19.