Adam Schechter, CEO of LabCorp, on Tuesday urged Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and told CNBC that recipients would not be advised to be tested for Covid antibodies afterwards.
“At the moment there is no recommendation for it. We still have to understand a lot more about the vaccines, know what is to be measured, how is to be measured,” Schechter told the Closing Bell.
The body’s immune system produces antibodies in response to a foreign pathogen and helps fight an infection. During the pandemic, antibody tests were used to determine if someone had previously been infected with the coronavirus.
Now that Covid vaccines are being given to millions of people, questions have been raised about what role antibody tests might play in determining whether a vaccine recipient is developing an immune response. In clinical studies, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccines have been shown to be more than 94% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19.
In December, for example, Roche received emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a test to detect antibodies to the coronavirus spike protein. In a press release at the time, the Swiss diagnostics and pharmaceutical company claimed that the test could be valuable after someone had been vaccinated against Covid.
“Many current vaccine candidates aim to induce an antibody response against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein,” the company said. “Tests that quantify antibodies to the spike protein could be used to measure the extent of this response and track that measurement over time.”
Schechter acknowledged that there might be a role for post-vaccination antibody testing but said, “We have a lot more to learn.”
“In the future, it might make sense to look at antibodies. It might make sense to look at T cells,” which are another element of the body’s immune response, he said. “Right now, as many people should be vaccinated as soon as possible, and there is no recommendation to have an additional blood test afterwards,” he added.
LabCorp’s shares closed the trading session Tuesday at around $ 220 apiece. The stock has soared more than 120% to $ 98 since its pandemic low on March 19.