LabCorp CEO Adam Schechter on Tuesday urged Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and told TBEN that recipients should not be tested for Covid antibodies afterwards.
“At the moment, there is no recommendation to do it. We still have to understand a lot more about vaccines, knowing what to measure, how to measure,” Schechter said on “Closing Bell”.
The body’s immune system produces antibodies in response to a foreign pathogen and uses them to fight infection. Throughout the pandemic, antibody tests have been used to determine if a person has ever been infected with the coronavirus.
Today, as Covid vaccines are given to millions of people, questions have been raised about the role antibody tests could play in determining whether a vaccine recipient is developing an immune response. In clinical trials, Moderna’s and Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccines have been shown to be over 94% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19.
In December, for example, Roche obtained emergency use clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a test that detects antibodies against the coronavirus spike protein. In a press release at the time, the Swiss diagnostic and pharmacy giant claimed the test could be useful after someone is vaccinated against Covid.
“Many current candidate vaccines aim to induce an antibody response against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein,” the company said. “Assays that quantify antibodies against the spike protein could be used to measure the level of this response and track this measurement over time.”
Schechter acknowledged that there could be a role for post-vaccination antibody testing, but said “there is still a lot to learn.”
“In the future, it may make sense to look at antibodies. It may make sense to look at T cells,” which are another part of the body’s immune response, he said. “At the moment, as many people should get the vaccine as quickly as possible, and there is no recommendation to do an additional blood test afterwards,” he added.
LabCorp shares closed Tuesday’s trading session at around $ 220 each. The stock is up more than 120% from its pandemic-era low on March 19 of $ 98.