COVID-19: Inspiring the Future of Testing

Abbott President and CEO Robert Ford discusses COVID-19 testing and the future of diagnostics during Forbes summit.

Strategy and Strength | Dec. 8, 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic burst into our lives and blazed across the globe, Abbott delivered the tests the world needed.

Now, Abbott is moving the world forward, developing a new set of channels to test for various viruses outside hospital walls, which could help address future pandemics.

"We've got (COVID-19) testing going on in airports, at retail stores, at doctors' offices and then a whole app ecosystem," said Abbott President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ford during the recent Forbes Healthcare Virtual Summit.

"We now have a base, so that when we can bring other tests [like] sexually transmitted disease tests, flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and strep tests, etc., those will now go into that installed base … and hopefully now, you'll have a whole new channel of diagnostic testing."

The Forbes Healthcare Summit focuses on the development of breakthrough medicine and the future of healthcare. This year's event looked at these topics through the lens of the pandemic, which is accelerating shifts in healthcare delivery and changing patient care.

Abbott was invited to participate in a Q&A session because of the technologies the company has developed and distributed at mass scale to help tackle the pandemic, get people back to doing the things they love and boost the economy.

During the conversation, Ford shared how Abbott's ability to execute under pressure was driven by the company's history of innovation, infectious disease experience, global footprint, and ability to scale manufacturing and distribution quickly. And Ford discussed how Abbott's bold work is inspiring the creation of a new diagnostic testing market that will focus on decentralizing, democratizing and digitizing tests.

It's not about substituting the lab or the hospital, but rather "creating a whole other new channel, a whole other new opportunity," Ford said.

To learn more, watch Ford's Q&A session.