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This article is free to all readers because it includes information important to public safety and health in our community.

Kroger, the parent company of Gerbes Pharmacy, will introduce rapid antibody testing at all of its pharmacies to help inform patients if they have previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The FDA-authorized rapid antibody tests are conducted using a finger-prick blood sample, company officials said in a news release.

As of Wednesday, the tests were available in any Kroger-owned stores with pharmacies, a Kroger official told the News Tribune.

They cost $25 and typically provide results within 15 minutes. People who believe they may have previously been infected with COVID-19 and are not currently experiencing symptoms are eligible for the test.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many states, this 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, Kroger officials said.

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, according to the company's news release.

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