Laboratory Corporation of America (LH 0.26%) and Quest Diagnostics (DGX -0.01%) recently announced the launch of testing services for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. LabCorp's test has been available since Thursday, while Quest will begin testing on Monday, March 9.
The announcements come at a time when multiple doctors have complained about their inability to get their patients tested for COVID-19. Thanks to the size of their laboratory networks, Quest and LabCorp are expected to bring what many doctors say is vital to containment efforts: effective testing done at scale.
"As COVID-19 continues to spread in the U.S., having high-quality, reliable, scalable laboratory tests available is a critically important part of the response," LabCorp's chief scientific officer, Marcia Eisenberg, said in a press release. "Identifying people who are infected is necessary to make sure that patients receive the appropriate care, to better manage the use of healthcare resources, and to help contain the spread of the virus."
It should be noted that neither LabCorp nor Quest will collect specimens on suspected COVID-19 cases. Instead, specimens are to be collected at healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and physician offices, and sent to Quest or LabCorp using standard procedures. LabCorp says test results will be made available in as little as 3 days.
Health officials have praised LabCorp's and Quest's decision to join the COVID-19 testing efforts. "These large platforms are great national assets and their contribution at a critical juncture is going to make a difference," former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.