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LabCorp says needs to run testing below full capacity…

By Mrinalika Roy and Manojna Maddipatla

July 28 – Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings said on Tuesday it has the capacity to run about 180,000 molecular tests a day and was delivering results in two-three days, but to maintain the speed it will have to perform below full capacity.

Adequate diagnostic testing and faster processing are crucial for the United States, which leads the world in COVID-19 deaths. It has reported nearly 148,500 deaths so far and more than 4 million cases of infection.

Last week, LabCorp received the U.S. authorization for emergency use of its pooled testing, a method that tests several patient samples at once, which it said will help it achieve its targets for expanded testing capacity.

Pool testing is particularly helpful in areas with low prevalence, such as back-to-school or back-to-work settings, Chief Executive Officer Adam Schechter said on a post-earnings conference call.

LabCorp, which offers antibody, neutralizing antibody and molecular tests for the coronavirus, has been struggling to expand capacity for its COVID-19 tests, like peer Quest Diagnostics Inc that aims to run 150,000 tests per day by next month.

Quest’s current turnaround time for COVID-19 tests is about a week, which it expects to cut by more than half by September, compared to LabCorp’s average of two-three days.

“We’re going to continue to ensure that we do as many tests as we can, but we want to manage the turnaround time as best we can as well,” Schechter said.

LabCorp said demand for its non-COVID-19 tests continues to be below historical levels, but has been recovering from its trough in April. Excluding items and CARES Act stimulus, LabCorp reported a profit of $2.57 per share for the quarter ended June 30, exceeding analysts’ estimates of $1 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

The company’s shares were down 1% at $199.07.

(Reporting By Mrinalika Roy and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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