LabCorp Launches First Combined Test for COVID-19, Flu and RSV
Burlington-based LabCorp has developed the first testing method to simultaneously detect for COVID-19, influenza A / B, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) just in time for the upcoming flu season.
The single-panel test for multiple types of infections can help doctors diagnose patients and make decisions about treatment options. It is initially available to patients through doctors, hospitals and other authorized healthcare providers nationwide. But LabCorp is also seeking approval from U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an at-home version.
A significant flu and RSV season this year could complicate healthcare professionals’ efforts to treat patients with fever, cough and aches – symptoms that COVID-19 shares with influenza A / B and RSV. Checking for four major respiratory viruses with one test will provide doctors a simple, efficient way to diagnose their patients.
“The U.S. is facing the most challenging health crisis in a century and is about to enter flu season, which has the potential to put additional strain on our healthcare system and cost lives,” said Brian Caveney, M.D., chief medical officer and president of LabCorp Diagnostics.
“Individuals infected with COVID-19, influenza A / B, or RSV, often experience similar symptoms of cough, fever, chest tightness, and body aches, providing a potential surge of patients seeking testing. Leveraging our scientific and technological expertise to simultaneously test for four major respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, will provide doctors a simple, efficient way to diagnose their patients.”
Between October 1, 2019, and April 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were 39 to 56 million flu illnesses, resulting in 18 to 26 million medical visits. Medical visits for flu and RSV could complicate challenges that the nation’s already stressed healthcare system faces as it continues the fight against COVID-19.
At-home version of test pending FDA authorization
LabCorp has submitted an application to the FDA to offer the single panel test through its Pixel by LabCorp at-home test collection kit, which would offer added convenience and accessibility. The test uses a short swab that is easily inserted into the individual’s lower nostril, reducing the discomfort associated with much longer swabs.
LabCorp is a global life sciences company that provides clinical laboratory and drug development services. It reported revenue of more than $11.5 billion in 2019.
As an S&P 500 company, LabCorp employs about 7,300 people across North Carolina including about 3,600 people in Alamance County, where it is the largest private employer. Globally the company employs nearly 61,000 people.