ABQ lab offers rapid test for COVID-19

The Southwest Labs Patient Service Center at 4500 Osuna NE. (Courtesy of Southwest Labs)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

An Albuquerque lab is offering a $65 COVID-19 test they said returns results in 20 minutes.

For the past four weeks, Southwest Labs has been offering the BD Veritor test manufactured by New Jersey-based Becton, Dickinson and Co.

The antigen test “detects whether a person is likely currently infected with COVID-19,” a Southwest Labs release said. “The antigen test looks for pieces of protein that make up the SARS-COV-2.”

The antigen test, which involves a nasal swab, costs $64.99, according to Natalie Dobbs, the lab’s consumer sales manager. The company has run more than 500 tests in the past four weeks, Dobbs said Tuesday.

The company doesn’t accept insurance for the test.

Walk-ins are accepted at the lab’s patient center at 4500 Osuna NE, though Dobbs said the company recommends making an appointment. For more information, visit https://southwestlab.com/patients/.

The company also offers a $119 Polymerase Chain Reaction test or “molecular test,” which typically takes 48 to 72 hours to get results.

A fact sheet provided by Southwest Labs said the rapid-result antigen tests are more accurate when it comes to positive results, “but negative results may need to be confirmed with a molecular test.”

“This test cannot definitively rule out active COVID-19 infection,” the fact sheet said. “Antigen tests are more likely to miss an active COVID-19 infection compared to molecular tests. A person’s health care provider may order a molecular test if the antigen test shows negative results, but person has symptoms of COVID-19.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration OK’d the test to be used by authorized laboratories under an “emergency use” ruling issued in July, but has not cleared or approved the test through its normal channels.

Southwest Labs is also offering corporate rates on COVID-19 tests, according to Dobbs.

The New Mexico Department of Health has a list of COVID-19 testing sites around the state at https://cvprovider.nmhealth.org/directory.html.

This story has been updated to reflect an accurate number of tests performed.

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