Dillons launches COVID-19 Rapid Antibody Testing at all pharmacy locations

Antibody testing graphic.
Antibody testing graphic.(MGN)
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 6:31 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Dillons Pharmacy has announced a new rapid antibody testing program across all pharmacies. This will help inform patients if they’ve previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Last month, Kroger Health, the healthcare division of The Kroger Co. announced the launch of rapid antibody testing across its family of pharmacies, expanding the company’s existing portfolio of in-clinic and at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

The FDA-authorized rapid antibody tests—conducted using a finger-prick blood sample—are now available at all Kroger pharmacies and clinics, including Dillons.

The tests, which are supplied by Whitmire Medical, are available to Kroger customers for $25 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 to take the test.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many states, Dillons says its 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.

“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 Robert Tomasu RPh, Health and Wellness Merchandiser at Dillon Stores in a press release. “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. This is important information to share with their health care provider. On a wider scope, this knowledge also helps clinicians understand the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and potential public health strategies for fighting the virus. I would also encourage anyone with COVID-19 antibodies to consider giving blood to the American Red Cross. The plasma in your blood contains antibodies that might help patients actively fighting COVID-19 and save lives.”

Kroger says its 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. Kroger is the first retailer to offer the testing solution to its customers.

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, residents should continue to practice FDA and CDC-recommended safety guidelines, including social distancing and wearing masks.

Dillons says the 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.

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