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LabCorp Receives Authorization for COVID-19 Sample Pooling

New Method Aims to Improve Efficiency of COVID-19 Testing, Optimize Testing Supplies and Increase Overall Capacity

LabCorp recently announced it received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permitting diagnostic testing of groups of individuals for active COVID-19 infections utilizing matrixed pooled testing, a method that tests several patient samples at once.

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LabCorp’s unique matrixed pooled strategy for COVID-19 provides an efficient testing approach for populations by allowing for larger groups of samples to be tested at one time. This methodology can quickly provide quality test results for individuals within the group, without requiring retesting in the majority of cases. Pooled testing may be used for populations at low risk of COVID-19, when testing demand exceeds laboratory capacity, or when testing reagents are in short supply.

“We believe science and technology are the best ways to beat the virus, and our matrixed pooled testing method is another way LabCorp is helping to respond to this health crisis,” said Brian Caveney, chief medical officer and president of LabCorp Diagnostics. “Pooling methods test groups of individuals efficiently and with high quality, while increasing our overall testing capacity. The demand for testing continues to increase and we are committed to finding innovative solutions to ensure testing is available.”

LabCorp’s matrixed pooled testing method involves testing up to five samples at once. If there is a positive sample in the pool, LabCorp can identify the individual positive sample in the pool using patterns detected by its robotic testing platform. Pooled testing can reduce the number of tests required in specific populations, optimize laboratory testing supplies, and increase testing capacity.

LabCorp received the EUA from the FDA on July 24 for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 in upper and lower respiratory specimens from individuals suspected of COVID-19, using a matrix pooling strategy (i.e., group pooling strategy), containing up to five individual upper respiratory swab specimens (nasopharyngeal, mid-turbinate, anterior nares or oropharyngeal swabs) per pool and 25 specimens per matrix, where each specimen is collected under observation or by a healthcare provider using individual vials containing transport media. Negative results from pooled testing should not be treated as definitive. If a patient’s clinical signs and symptoms are inconsistent with a negative result or results are necessary for patient management, then the patient should be considered for individual testing. Specimens included in pools where the positive sample cannot be identified using the matrix must be tested individually prior to reporting a result. Specimens with low viral loads may not be detected in sample pools due to decreased sensitivity of pooled testing.

LabCorp’s COVID-19 molecular test has been authorized by the FDA under an EUA only for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, and not for any other viruses or pathogens, and has not been FDA cleared or approved. The test is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostic tests for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.

This EUA is effective until the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 is terminated under Section 564(b)(2) of the Act or the EUA is revoked under Section 564(g) of the Act.




    July 30, 2020 at 12:49 pm


  2. John Cole

    August 7, 2020 at 11:46 am

    So you can test more at once but is it still a 7-10day wait for results? I’m interested to know as a small business owner because I need to give my clients confidence.

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