April 28, 2020 / 2:18 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Quest Diagnostics makes COVID-19 antibody test available online at $119

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April 28 (Reuters) - Quest Diagnostic Inc said on Tuesday individuals can purchase its COVID-19 antibody test for themselves through its website QuestDirect at $119 without having to visit a doctor’s office.

Shares of the diagnostic company were up nearly 2% at $118 in early trading. The stock is up 8% this year through Monday close.

Each test request is reviewed and, if appropriate, an order for testing is issued by a licensed physician, the company said, adding that individuals have the opportunity to speak with a licensed physician about their results.

Unlike tests to diagnose diseases, antibody tests show who has been infected and recovered. The body makes antibodies in response to many illnesses and infections, including other coronaviruses.

Antibody tests are considered a potential game changer in the battle to contain infections and offer the chance to get the economy back on track by identifying people who may have immunity to the virus and could return to their jobs.

Last week, Quest said it was launching its COVID-19 antibody test service for healthcare providers to order on behalf of patients and said it expected to perform more than 200,000 tests a day by mid-May.

Quest said on Tuesday people who buy the test online will be prompted to schedule an appointment for a blood draw at one of its patient service centers, and the test results will be available on the company’s patient portal MyQuest, within two days of the blood draw.

Through QuestDirect, individuals can request for the test and purchase it online for $119, the company said.

The service could help individuals without any COVID-19 symptoms find out if they have been exposed to the virus and have developed antibodies to fight it.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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