Groceries and antibodies: Kroger to start offering coronavirus antibody testing

Groceries and antibodies: Kroger to start offering coronavirus antibody testing

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Within the next month, you’ll be able to find out if you have coronavirus antibodies while you do your grocery shopping.

Kroger recently announced it will offer rapid antibody testing at its pharmacies nationwide by November. The grocery chain compares the test to a blood sugar test, where they’ll just prick your finger and know whether or not you have COVID-19 antibodies.

It will cost $25 and the results are estimated to be available in about 15 minutes.

The finger prick antibody test takes about 15 minutes to get results.
The finger prick antibody test takes about 15 minutes to get results. (Source: KHNL)

According to a news release from Kroger, this particular test by Whitmire Medical was authorized by the FDA for emergency use in July and got a broader authorization in September.

Kroger is the first retail store to offer the test.

It’s important to note that the test only detects antibodies, not the virus itself, so it can’t diagnose an active infection, but officials said these tests will still help in the long run.

“Making rapid antibody testing available across our family of 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,” said Colleen Lindholz, President of Health at Kroger.

The test will only be available to people that are not currently experiencing symptoms, and are currently only at select stores in California and Michigan.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control provided this response to Kroger’s press release:

“Positive results from a COVID-19 antibody test are currently considered a suspect case. It is not recommended to diagnosis a current infection. It may suggest that an individual has had exposure to the COVID-19 virus in the past, but it should not be assumed that they have immunity to future infections. The reliability of these tests is not well known yet. Antibody testing is generally prone to false positive results from cross-reacting with other antibodies from similar viruses, and false negatives based on the timing of the test and the level of immune response mounted by the individual. Regarding data, DHEC does not report out suspect cases."

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