With lab giants pushing capacity limits, trump administrator hopes to conduct POC testing

• As LabCorp and Quest struggle to meet the growing demand for molecular diagnostics due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases, Brett Giroir, head of the federal COVID-19 testing effort, hopes that Abbott, BD, and Quidel can help ease the pressure.

• Giroir reiterated comments made by the lab giants themselves, admitting at a press conference Tuesday that commercial labs currently have longer turnaround times for test results and capacity achievement. To solve the problem, he pointed out that the BD and Quidel antigen-based POC test, as well as Abbott’s ID Now molecular test, can be performed outside the laboratory in minutes, not days.

• Although some molecular tests, such as Abbott’s ID Now, offer fast turnaround times, antigen tests are believed to be better suited for quick results. A Quest spokesperson told MedTech Dive on Wednesday that “molecular diagnostic tests are still useful.” At the same time, he said the company is “looking to start its own antigen test.”

While LabCorp and Quest primarily conduct tests for inpatients, preoperative acute care patients, and symptomatic healthcare professionals, test turnaround times at some of the best lab sales for others have generally increased, according to Giroir.

“On average, we have two states with response times between four and five days, 24 states with three or four days, and the rest of states between two and three days.

A LabCorp spokesperson told MedTech Dive on Wednesday that test results processing times have remained unchanged since a June 30 statement that the recent surge in demand for test results could mean that it may take a day or two on average before results are available.”It would be fair to say that the current delivery time is 2-4 days across the country,” a spokesman said.

In a test update Monday night, Quest said demand for molecular diagnostic tests across the country, particularly in the South, Southwest, and West, continued to grow and “exceeded” the company’s capacity.