Medical testing specialist Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) has rolled out a product that is likely to find a large customer base in a hurry. The company announced Tuesday that its QuestDirect unit is now offering for sale the COVID-19 Immune Response, an antibody test for consumers. This can be purchased online at a dedicated page of QuestDirect's website; it retails for $119.
An antibody is a protein used by the immune system to fight pathogens. One common antibody, immunoglobulin G (IgG), derives from exposure to COVID-19, and it is this antibody that the COVID-19 Immune Response detects.
A potential user has to request a COVID-19 Immune Response test. This involves filling out a brief questionnaire on the dedicated web page that gauges suitability for the test. Quest said that if the request passes a review and is deemed appropriate, a licensed doctor will issue an order for testing.
Once the results are obtained, customers can opt to discuss them with a licensed doctor. The results can be accessed through a different Quest portal; the company said they are typically available one or two days after a blood draw is received (this can be done by appointment at any Quest Diagnostics patient service center).
In the press release announcing the test, which is already available for purchase, Quest wrote that "[w]hile 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. Our goal is to empower individuals and their physicians to make informed decisions about their risk of infection and of spreading the virus."
On Tuesday, Quest shares fell 3.5%. This was a steeper drop than that of the broader equities market and numerous peer healthcare stocks.