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Thermo Fisher to Turn Coronavirus Antibody Testing on Its Head

By Cory Renauer - Updated May 13, 2020 at 4:45PM

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Its new test that will detect two types of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies will run on an open instrument platform.

Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO -0.58%) is expanding its response to the coronavirus pandemic with a little help from some friends. The Mayo Clinic and WuXi Diagnostics will collaborate with it on the development of the Thermo Fisher Scientific OmniPath COVID-19 Total Antibody ELISA test.

Something different 

New antibody tests from AbbottQuest Diagnostics, and some of their peers have already been given emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA. These look for relatively simple immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies that our immune systems produce in response to SARS-CoV-2. The new test from Thermo Fisher and its collaboration partners will also detect complex immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies that appear in the early stage of the immune response.

Coronavirus sample tube

Image source: Getty Images.

Thermo Fisher also intends for its new SARS-CoV-2 antibody test to be processed on an open instrument platform. That should mean healthcare providers with the capacity to run other antibody tests will also be able to process this one.

Next steps

Thermo Fisher says it will start manufacturing its new SARS-CoV-2 antibody test in the U.S. and EU over the next few weeks. WuXi Diagnostics will assist with its international development, and (assuming the test gets authorized for emergency use, as is widely expected) will also assist with manufacturing and commercialization.

The Mayo Clinic won't be much help on the manufacturing front, but it will still play a role. The clinical experience of its physicians and the laboratory experience of its scientists could help Thermo Fisher's new antibody test quickly become one of the more popular COVID-19 diagnostics.

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