Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

OPKO Health Unit Providing Coronavirus Antibody Screening in New York City

By Eric Volkman - May 11, 2020 at 10:16AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Its BioReference subsidiary is rolling out testing with five locations -- one in each of NYC's boroughs -- but will quickly expand its footprint.

OPKO Health (OPK -4.82%), which is on the forefront of testing for COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes it, is helping New York City get a handle on how the disease has been spreading through the five boroughs. On Friday, the company's BioReference lab testing subsidiary launched a large-scale SARS-CoV-2 antibody screening service for residents of the city, which was hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

In the opening phases of the project, 140,000 of the municipality's residents will be tested in five locations, one in each of its five boroughs. In the next few weeks, other testing sites are to be opened; OPKO Health did not get any more specific.

A coronavirus colony.

Image source: Getty Images.

Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system when it fights off invaders such as the coronavirus. Tests such as OPKO Health's detect whether an individual possesses the ones that fight COVID-19. Thus, a positive test indicates the person had been infected, and that their immune system had attacked the virus. There is speculation that that people with such antibodies might have developed a degree of immunity to it.

Also, antibody testing helps epidemiologists and others understand more about the spread of the disease and how frequently infections lead to serious cases. "This type of information will be of great value in helping healthcare professionals to analyze the presence and progression of the disease in order to identify at risk populations for possible early intervention," OPKO Health said in its announcement.

The company stressed that the purpose of its test is not to ascertain whether someone currently has COVID-19. Rather it's used to tell if there has been an infection in the past, because, as the CDC notes, antibodies will not show up in the bloodstream until 1 to 3 weeks after a person has been infected. People currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should see a physician or seek a viral COVID-19 test.

On Friday, OPKO Health shares closed 7.7% higher, well outpacing the gains of the major equity indexes and many of its fellow healthcare stocks.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

OPKO Health, Inc. Stock Quote
OPKO Health, Inc.
OPK
$2.57 (-4.82%) $0.13

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
332%
 
S&P 500 Returns
115%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/29/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.