There’s a new option for Hoosiers who think they may have been previously infected with COVID-19. The health division of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) will soon launch rapid antibody testing at its chain of pharmacies. The test takes about 15 minutes to complete and involves a finger prick to see if a person has antibodies that show they previously had the virus that causes COVID-19.
Kroger says it will be the first retailer in the U.S. to offer a rapid antibody test, which will be available at any Kroger store in Indiana around the end of the month. The test will cost $25, which is lower than previous antibody tests that needed to be sent to a lab for analysis.
Tammy Sarmiento, regional clinical director in Indianapolis for Kroger Health, tells Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta the test will be available to anyone.
“Back when this pandemic started, many of us had an illness that no one can really explain. The flu test was negative but we were pretty sick at times and so for those individuals who think, ‘I am almost positive I’ve had COVID,’ this is the test for them,” said Sarmiento. “The test that we’re using…research as shown that it’s 98% accurate and just as good, if not better and reliable, than what you would have sent out to a lab.”
Sarmiento notes that if someone were to test negative for antibodies, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they haven’t had COVID.
“It takes the body about 1-3 weeks to build antibodies and so…someone who is asymptomatic and they’re getting the test could possibly still be infected currently with the virus.”
Once the test is available, people will need to make an appointment to receive the test. Sarmiento expects a big turnout for the test.
“We have had in our Little Clinics throughout Indiana and across the country, we’ve had a significant interest and demand in individuals in the community seeking the rapid antibody testing. We anticipate that that is going to increase…as we roll that out to all of our Kroger family of pharmacies throughout central Indiana.”
Additionally, Kroger Health is also planning to offer rapid antigen COVID testing at all of its Little Clinics across the state by the end of November and at Kroger pharmacies after the new year.