WASHINGTON: The US authorised pharmacies on Wednesday (Apr 8) to carry out tests for the coronavirus, including newly developed antibody tests that detect whether a person who has recovered from illness had COVID-19.
Health secretary Alex Azar, announced that all tests approved by regulators could be carried out by pharmacies as the country seeks to ramp up its testing efforts.
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“The Trump Administration is pleased to give pharmacists the chance to play a bigger role in the COVID-19 response, alongside all of America’s heroic healthcare workers,” he said.
A nasal swab test can detect whether a person currently has the coronavirus.
After they have recovered, a test that looks at whether their body developed antibodies that fought off the virus and can be used – even if the person never showed symptoms.
There are different kinds of antibody tests and they can’t yet tell whether a person has sufficient antibodies to be protected against future infection.
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A Chinese study posted this week, but not yet peer-reviewed, showed that some former patients had relatively low levels of antibodies in the blood.
In Washington on Wednesday, a private medical center announced that it was offering a 15-minute serology test, at a cost of US$290.