Kroger Pharmacies to Provide COVID-19 Antibody Tests

October 29, 2020
Christine Blank

Kroger Health is offering rapid antibody testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) across all its pharmacies and clinics by the end of November.

Kroger Health is offering rapid antibody testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) across all its pharmacies and clinics by the end of November.

The FDA-authorized rapid antibody tests—conducted using a finger-prick blood sample—are now available at Kroger pharmacies in California (Ralphs) and Michigan. It is the first retailer to offer the testing solution to its customers, Kroger said in a news release.1

Kroger is also offering a suite of in-clinic and at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests. This summer, the FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit to Kroger Health — making it the first retailer to receive an authorization for a COVID-19 test.

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

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many states, the 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 retailer said.

"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 Kroger Health.

Kroger Health's rapid antibody tests are conducted by a licensed health professional using a fingerstick blood sample and the Assure COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Device, a rapid lateral flow chromatographic immunoassay (configured like a blood sugar test) to detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

The test was first authorized by the FDA for emergency use in July and further authorized for broader point-of-care use in September.

Research is still underway to determine how long antibodies are present following infection and if the presence of antibodies provides protective immunity, Kroger said. In addition, the antibody 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,” Kroger said.

Reference

Kroger launches COVID-19 rapid antibody testing at pharmacy locations. News release. Kroger Health; October 28, 2020. Accessed October 29, 2020. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/kroger-health-launches-covid-19-rapid-antibody-testing-at-pharmacy-locations-301161589.html