IDEXX Makes Pet Test for COVID-19 Virus Available to Veterinarians
Response to growing clinical evidence, rare but real cases, and requests from veterinarians worldwide
WESTBROOK, Maine, April 20, 2020—IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: IDXX), a global leader in veterinary diagnostics and software, today announced the availability of the IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR™ Test for pets. IDEXX is launching the test in response to customer demand and growing evidence that in rare cases pets living with COVID-19 positive humans can be at risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The test will be available to veterinarians in North America this week and will continue to roll out across most of the world in the coming weeks, enabled by IDEXX Reference Laboratories, the company's worldwide network of more than 80 laboratories.
“We have continued to monitor the rapidly evolving public health crisis worldwide, paying special attention to the effects on pets,” said Jay Mazelsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of IDEXX Laboratories. “While there is currently no evidence that dogs or cats play a role in transmitting the disease to humans, it became clear offering the test was the right thing to do when we saw clinical evidence that pets—especially cats and ferrets—can in rare cases be at risk for infection. And, we heard from our customers around the globe that veterinarians needed a testing option.”
IDEXX’s guidance, aligned with that of medical experts, is that veterinarians order the IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR™ Test after consultation with a public health authority (for example, a state public health veterinarian in the United States) and three specific criteria are met:
- Pet is living in a household with a human who has COVID-19 or has tested positive for the virus
- Pet has already been tested for more common infections, that a veterinarian has ruled out
- Pet (especially cats and ferrets) is showing clinical signs consistent with COVID-19
IDEXX does not expect this veterinary test to have an impact on human COVID-19 testing or availability.
Understanding of COVID-19 and its effects on animal and human health is evolving rapidly. Leading health authorities and IDEXX veterinarians agree transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is primarily person to person and advise against testing asymptomatic pets. Since mid-February, IDEXX Reference Laboratories has tested over 5,000 specimens for the COVID-19 virus, from cats, dogs, and horses with respiratory symptoms in 17 countries. To date, IDEXX has found no positive results. This suggests dogs and cats living with infected people generally remain uninfected, except in rare and isolated cases. For more in-depth information, read the IDEXX coronavirus diagnostic update.
In addition to these efforts, the company’s human health business, OPTI Medical Systems, is advancing support of human COVID-19 testing with the development of a PCR test kit, enabled by IDEXX’s expertise in livestock PCR test development and manufacturing. OPTI Medical has validated a PCR test kit specifically developed for use in humans and intended primarily for limited initial distribution to existing customers that are active in human COVID-19 testing. This initiative is in an early stage of development, and the company will share more information as it advances its capabilities in this area.
For information about the IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR™ Test for pets, visit idexx.com/covid19-pet-test.
About IDEXX Laboratories
IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. is a member of the S&P 500® Index and is a leader in pet healthcare innovation, serving practicing veterinarians around the world with a broad range of diagnostic and information technology-based products and services. IDEXX products enhance the ability of veterinarians to provide advanced medical care, improve staff efficiency, and build more economically successful practices. IDEXX is also a worldwide leader in providing diagnostic tests and information for livestock and poultry and tests for the quality and safety of water and milk and point-of-care, clinical diagnostics equipment for human medicine. Headquartered in Maine, IDEXX employs more than 9,000 people and offers products to customers in over 175 countries. For more information about IDEXX, visit www.idexx.com.
Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
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