Abbott supplies its serology tests to India

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 22, 2020

File photo of Abbott company logo   -  REUTERS

Abbott has begun supplying its laboratory-based serology blood test for the detection of the antibody, IgG (Immunoglobulin G), which identifies if a person has had the novel coronavirus Covid-19.

The US healthcare company said it has the capacity to provide millions of tests to India and is already in the process of delivering antibody tests to leading government and private hospitals and labs in Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Gujarat.

The SARS-CoV-2 IgG test can be used to understand the spread of transmission in high-risk populations such as healthcare workers, immune-compromised individuals, frontline workers, or those in containment zones, said Narendra Varde, General Manager and Country Head at Abbott’s diagnostics business in India. “These tests also provide valuable information to public health officials about the spread in asymptomatic cases, helping us assess the impact of our public health efforts now and guide our Covid-19 response moving forward,” he said. The test kits are being imported from Europe. Details were awaited from the company on the price. Abbott is also developing an IgM antibody test.

Test details

Abbott's SARS-CoV-2 IgG test specifically identifies the IgG antibody, which is a protein that the body produces in the late stages of infection and may remain for up to months and possibly years after a person has recovered. The test is used on the ARCHITECT® i1000SR and i2000SR laboratory instruments, which are installed in hospitals or laboratories throughout India and can run up to 100-200 tests per hour to help with reliable antibody testing during the pandemic. Independent researchers found the test to have 99.9 per cent specificity and 100 per cent sensitivity for patients tested 17 days or more after symptoms began, the company said.

Mumbai’s Hinduja hospital was one of the first hospitals to evaluate the test in India, Abbott said, giving insights from three different experts. According to the statement, Dr Tester F. Asha Vaid, Chief of Labs (Admn), Director Lab Research at Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mumbai, said: “This test is useful to clinicians and the community — our initial testing has yielded specific results for patients who were RT-PCR positive for Covid-19.”

The Abbott statement quoted Dr Jayanthi Shastri, Professor & Head of Microbiology, Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Mumbai, as saying: “For a city like Mumbai, it’s critical to assess the level of exposure of the population in the community, which can be done ward-wise, guiding authorities on re-assessing containment strategies. The test gains significant relevance in high-risk populations such as frontline and healthcare workers, where outcomes will enable us in understanding contagiousness of Covid-19.”

It also quoted Dr Ujjwayini Ray, Consultant Microbiologist, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata, as saying: “We have found that patients who have clinically recovered or are on path of recovery have developed significant levels of IgG antibody against Covid-19. The IgG assay could be included in the discharge policy of hospitalised Covid-19 patients.”

Published on June 22, 2020

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