Abbott gets emergency authorization for new COVID antibody test

Medical device maker Abbott Labs on Monday said it received emergency authorization for a new COVID-19 blood test that can detect more recent infections.

The AdviseDx is a lab-based test that can detect the IgM (Immunoglobulin M) antibody. 

The IgM antibody is most useful for determining a recent infection, as they become undetectable weeks to months following infection.

Having a more complete picture of where a patient is in their recovery can help healthcare providers determine if treatment, isolation or follow-up visits are needed, the company said.

Abbott already has an antibody test on the market that can detect the IgG antibody, which is the antibody that is longer-lasting in the body after infection.

The IgG test can help understand if someone has recovered from the virus, as well as contact tracing and epidemiological studies.  

“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,” Robert Ford, Abbott’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Unlike molecular and antigen tests, antibody tests can’t tell when a person is currently infected with the coronavirus. Instead, they can determine if someone has previously been infected.

Abbott said that similar to the IgG antibody test, the Advise demonstrated 99.56 percent specificity, which means it is unlikely to find false negatives.

It also had a 95 percent sensitivity, which weeds out false positives.

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