US pharmacies authorized to test for coronavirus

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 09 2020 07:58 AM

US pharmacies authorized to test for coronavirus 1
FILE PHOTO: Medical technicians take a sample to test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a drive through testing site in Medford, Massachusetts, US, April 4, 2020. Brian Snyder, Reuters

WASHINGTON- The US authorized pharmacies on Wednesday 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.

"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.

A Chinese study posted this week, but not yet peer-reviewed, showed that some former patients had relatively low levels of antibodies in the blood.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 $290.