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Waltham’s PerkinElmer gets emergency approval for COVID-19 antibodies test

It could be used to help determine whether people develop immunity to the disease.

A PerkinElmer automated workstation, used in labs around the world.-

PerkinElmer, the Waltham-based diagnostics maker, said Tuesday that a subsidiary has obtained an "emergency use authorization” from the Food and Drug Administration for a test that detects antibodies in the blood of people who fought off COVID-19.

The test made by EUROIMMUN, a subsidiary based in Lubeck, Germany, is one of a dozen made by different companies that have won such approvals, according to the FDA website. These products, also known as serology tests, could help health care professionals determine whether someone has developed immunity to reinfection, although scientists aren’t sure yet that people can contract COVID-19 only once.


The tests could also identify people who may donate part of their blood as convalescent plasma, which may serve as a potential treatment for other people sickened by the coronavirus. PerkinElmer has 13,000 employees worldwide, including 750 in Massachusetts, according to a company spokesman.

Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at