PORTLAND, Ore. — Fred Meyer announced the launch of rapid antibody testing at 133 pharmacies throughout the northwest. The new tests expand upon the existing COVID-19 diagnostic tests.
The emergency use authorized rapid antibody tests are done by a finger-prick blood sample. The tests are supplied by Whitmire Medical and are available for $25 and typically provide results within 15 minutes, according to a news release.
People who think they may have previously been infected with COVID-19 and are not currently experiencing symptoms are eligible for the test.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many states, including Idaho, Fred Meyer rapid antibody tests may provide information about past infections to those who believe they may have been infected but were not able to get tested.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Fred Meyer has remained committed to helping people live healthier lives by offering at-home COVID-19 testing solutions supported by our multi-disciplinary team of licensed, trained and experienced healthcare providers,” said Abdi Osman, pharmacist and wellness merchandiser for Fred Meyer. “Making rapid antibody testing available at Fred Meyer pharmacies will not only provide an affordable and convenient testing solution for individuals who want to understand if they have previously been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 but also help clinicians understand the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and potential public health strategies for fighting the disease.”
The rapid antibody tests are done by a licensed health professional using a fingerstick blood sample and the Assure COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Device. The device is a rapid lateral flow chromatographic immunoassay (configured like a blood sugar test) to detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the release.
The test was first authorized by the FDA for emergency use in July and further authorized for broader use in September. Kroger is the first retailer to offer the testing solution to customers, according to the release.
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, everyone should continue to practice FDA-recommended safety guidelines, including social distancing and wearing masks.
The Assure COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test should not be used to diagnose an active infection, as the test only detects antibodies developed in response to the virus, not the virus itself.