CVS Health has announced the availability of relatively low-cost Covid-19 antibody testing at its more than 1,100 MinuteClinic locations within CVS stores.
The test, which costs $38 at the time of service, produces results within 15 minutes, revealing if a patient had previously been infected with Covid-19. Notably, the test is not intended to diagnose current infections. CVS already offers Covid-19 diagnostic testing at more than 4,800 pharmacy locations, including roughly 1,000 with rapid-result testing.
The access to low-cost antibody testing at MinuteClinics highlights the growing trend toward more healthcare services across retailers. From pharmacy chains to supermarkets and grocery stores, community-centric retailers are becoming increasingly critical in the Covid-19 recovery efforts with growing testing and vaccination capabilities.
"After successfully piloting the antibody test offering at more than 100 MinuteClinic locations earlier this year, and recently launching the service at all of our clinic locations in Massachusetts and Texas, we have seen steady interest in affordable COVID-19 antibody testing," Sharon Vitti, president of MinuteClinic, said in a statement. "Being able to provide patients with easy access to a rapid antibody test at MinuteClinic locations to help determine previous infection is a natural extension of our ongoing commitment to supporting Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic."
CVS operates its retail medical clinics in 33 states and Washington, D.C., and the test is performed by a member of the team. The testing is not yet available in Nevada, according to CVS. A finger prick for a blood sample is required for the test, which screens for the presence of antibodies generated by a previous infection. CVS accepts test payments in cash, credit, debit and HSA or FSA cards, as well as Medicaid.
"These tests can help patients determine if they may have been infected with COVID-19 in the past," Angela Patterson, chief nurse practitioner office of MinuteClinic and vice president of CVS Health, said in the announcement. "While these tests have been found to be very accurate, patients need to keep in mind that it can take the body up to two weeks to generate enough antibodies to be detected by a test, so testing too soon after a suspected infection may not yield an accurate result."