Kroger to offer antibody testing at its pharmacies

Kroger has started offering rapid antibody testing at its pharmacies to help inform people if they have previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The FDA-authorized rapid antibody tests — conducted using a finger-prick blood sample—are now available at Kroger pharmacies in California and Michigan and will be available at all Kroger pharmacies and clinics by the end of November, the company said.

The tests, which are supplied by Whitmire Medical, are available to Kroger customers for $25 and typically provide results within 15 minutes, the company said. People who believe they may have previously been infected with COVID-19 and are not currently experiencing symptoms are eligible for the test.

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In September, the American Society for Microbiology reported that 73% of surveyed testing labs experienced a shortage of commercial testing kits for SARS-CoV-2, a capacity challenge that may have hindered testing accessibility for many Americans. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many states, Kroger 's rapid antibody test may provide critical information about past infection to patients who believe they may have been exposed to the coronavirus but were unable to access testing at the time of infection, the company said.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroger Heath has remained committed to helping people live healthier lives by offering in-clinic and at-home COVID-19 testing solutions supported by our multi-disciplinary team of licensed, trained and experienced healthcare providers,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health in a statement.

Research is still underway to determine how long antibodies are present following infection and if the presence of antibodies provides protective immunity. Regardless of the testing result, all patients should continue to practice FDA-recommended safety guidelines, including social distancing and wearing masks.

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