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, 20 April 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 pets living with COVID-19 positive humans can, in rare cases, be at risk of 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 that offering the test was the right thing to do when we saw clinical evidence that pets – especially cats and ferrets – can be at risk of infection in rare cases. 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:
- The pet is living in a household with a human who has COVID-19 or has tested positive for the virus
- The pet has already been tested for more common infections that have been ruled out by a veterinarian
- The 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 test availability.
The understanding of COVID-19 and its effects on animal and human health is evolving rapidly. Leading health authorities and IDEXX veterinarians agree that 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 that 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, made possible 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.
About IDEXX Laboratories
IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. is a member of the S&P 500® Index and is a leader in pet healthcare innovation, serving practising 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 as well as 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
This news release contains or may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as ‘expects’, ‘may’, ‘anticipates’, ‘intends’, ‘would’, ‘will’, ‘plans’, ‘believes’, ‘estimates’, ‘should’ and similar words and expressions. These forward-looking statements are intended to provide our current expectations or forecasts of future events, are based on current estimates, projections, beliefs and assumptions and are not guarantees of future performance. Actual events or results may differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements and any assumptions concerning future events. These statements are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other important factors. Readers are advised not to put undue reliance on such forward-looking statements because actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied. The reports filed by IDEXX pursuant to United States securities laws contain discussions of some of these risks and uncertainties. IDEXX assumes no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Readers are advised to review IDEXX’s filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (which are available from the SEC’s EDGAR database at sec.gov and via IDEXX’s website at idexx.com).