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LabCorp (LH) New Study Looks at COVID-19 Antibody Longevity

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Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings LH, popularly known as LabCorp, recently announced a new COVID-19 study on the development and longevity of SARS-CoV-2 antibody. The study was based on analysis of specimens taken from 39,086 individuals between March 2020 and January 2021.

The company claims this to be the largest known COVID-related study in terms of specimen volume.

More on the Findings

Published in The Lancet-affiliated EClinicalMedicine, the study asserts that nearly 87% of naturally infected COVID-19 patients maintained antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 proteins for at least 10 months.

Based on Labcorp’s advanced testing infrastructure, the study results direct to a few deductions. The findings show that through 300 days after the initial test, the antibody positivity rate to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein remained mostly stable for the U.S. population.

It also shows that the positivity rate of antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein (which is more active during early infection) declined more rapidly than the rate of spike antibodies but remained above 60% through the next 10 months. Also, during this period, individuals below 65 showed a more sustained rate of positive antibody results. This implies 65 and older population may have increased difficulty maintaining antibodies for a longer time.

According to LabCorp, these findings will play a vital role in helping in the planning of post-pandemic safety measures, as well as future vaccinations and the timing of booster shots.

LabCorp's COVID-Related Drive

In terms of COVID-19 developments, LabCorp was the first commercial lab to launch PCR testing on Mar 5 2020, just after the FDA liberalized the rules around Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for testing. Through 2020, the company developed six EUA COVID tests and performed approximately 35 million COVID tests in 2020. It has helped to bring multiple treatments and vaccines to market in record time. The company is also the first to offer an at-home PCR collection kit with or without a prescription through Pixel by LabCorp. LabCorp was also one of the initial players to market neutralizing antibody tests that are important in the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

In January 2021, as a major development, LabCorp has been awarded a contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide genomic sequencing of samples of SARS-CoV-2. This sequencing will aid the CDC in its goal of conducting a large-scale longitudinal genomic survey of the virus using a random set of samples collected from across the United States.

Peer Position

In the COVID-19 testing space, the company is however facing tough competition from diagnostic testing companies like Quest Diagnostics DGX, Thermo Fisher Scientific TMO and Abbott ABT.

In the first quarter of 2021, despite decline in demand for Quest Diagnostics’ COVID-19 testing, the company performed an average of 101,000 COVID-19 molecular tests per day. According to the company, it will continue to realize demand for coronavirus testing going forward on the fact that this will help control the spread of the virus in addition to reducing hospitalization and saving lives.

Thermo Fisher in the first quarter generated $2.9 billion of COVID-19 response revenues. Demand for PCR testing solutions was strong. Further, the company played a pivotal role in the development and production of vaccines and therapies.

Abbott too has developed and launched several COVID-19 tests across its testing platform for both laboratory and rapid point-of-care settings. In the first quarter, sales were strong on worldwide growing demand for COVID-19 testing-related rapid point-of-care platforms — ID NOW, BinaxNOW and Panbio.

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