Quest warns flu season will further hurt coronavirus testing
Coronavirus testing capacity could crumble under the combined demand of the pandemic and the fall flu season, Quest's executive vice president James Davis told the Financial Times.
Why it matters: Turnaround times for coronavirus tests are already at roughly a week. Labs only have the capacity to focus on people who are symptomatic, and that will get worse with the cold and the flu, Davis said.
What they’re saying:
- “We would double our capacity tomorrow . . . but it’s not the labs that are the bottleneck. [It] is our ability to get physical machines and, more importantly, our ability to feed those machines with chemical reagents," Davis said, adding "other solutions need to be found" in addition to nasal swab testing.
- Quest rival LabCorp also warned Tuesday virus is spreading faster than the company can handle: “We need all states to ensure we’re doing everything we can to better control the virus. If we can do that, then we’ll be able to have the tests that we need,” LabCorp CEO Adam Schechter told CNBC.
What to watch: The Food and Drug Administration last week granted Quest the first emergency use authorization to conduct pooled coronavirus testing in hopes to speed up the process.