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Christus Health launches tests to determine if people have COVID-19 and have antibodies to fight the virus | COVID-19


With a simple sample of two drops of blood from a finger, Christus Health is testing in minutes whether a patient has COVID-19 or has one and has antibodies to fight the virus.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Christus Health to conduct tests on patients, doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals dealing with patients with coronavirus. In the coming days, hospital officials say the FDA hopes to allow these simple tests to be definitive.

The “COVID-19 IgG / IgM Rapid Diagnostic Test Kit” was announced by Christus Health on Tuesday. IgM indicates antibodies when infected with and infected with coronavirus, and IgG indicates when infected with virus and recovered.

From there, additional kits can be used to test the public. This will reach more people and even open the country to sports events and concerts.

“Once final approval from the FDA is obtained, it can be used as a clear test,” said Dr Sam Bagchi, EVP and Chief Clinical Officer at Christus Health. “It’s like getting a certificate that says” cleared the infection. ” These individuals have become increasingly confident in reentering society and returning to normality, and we are excited about it. “

“This is big news not only for East Texas, but for the country and the world as well,” Bagchi added. Securing a quick and available antibody test to see if employees or doctors are infected with the virus. Yes, I may have developed an immune system against the virus in the past. I thought it was impossible to know and antibody testing was important. “

When it comes to sports, Bagchi said in a zoom teleconference with the media, “At sports events and social gatherings where people are nearby, it’s very important to understand who may still be at risk. I don’t know 100% yet, if it’s a silver bullet that recovers only once and can’t regain coronavirus, this coronavirus is just like any other coronavirus we recognize. In some cases, it is only affected once, and once an immune response has occurred, it is very unlikely to be transmitted again. It is unlikely that it will be transmitted a second time and spread. ”

Currently, there are 20,000 kits available at every hospital in the Christus Health system, and they are getting more and more. Christus Health does not charge patients or employees for testing.

Dr. Dave Benner of Clinical Support Services, vice president of Christus Health, said he would not charge for the test to build confidence that the hospital would return to non-COVID healthcare.

It was a big theme on Tuesday. To inform the general public that it is time to start using the hospital and local doctors for all symptoms, not just COVID-19.

“I think we flattened the COVID curve. Breast cancer, coronary artery disease, diabetes and many other traditional healthcare services are shut down or avoided by people worried about their social distance. “Bagchi said. “Both tests are important to understand where the virus is in our community and where in our facility.”

“The schools will want to know if they’ve been exposed and if they’re immune to viruses in nursing homes, prisons, colleges, and others,” he said.

“This is a game changer in our community. The antibody kit is just a blood draw. We are creating other points of contact with the community. We are opening the door for more tests.” In our community, we use advanced COVID-19 antibody tests to screen people in our premises to determine if they have been infected with COVID-19 in the past or are currently infected. , Leading the country. “

Harvard University professor Dr. Harvey Feinberg, Chan England of Public Health, said in an editorial on April 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine, “This is a major shift to restart some of the economy more quickly and safely. It will be a point. “

Christus Health will first use the test for frontline employees and caregivers. The rapid screening tool will also be used for inpatients who are convinced by the clinical team that they may be infected with COVID-19 and for patients scheduled for emergency surgery.

Doctors show how easy the test is, and finally said, the public outside the health care worker will be able to read the test

“We were excited five times. Excited, caregivers excited, leaders excited,” Bagchi said. “We are building self-confidence and creating a safe care environment with COVID-free or COVID-safe areas. People don’t have to worry about coming for cancer or heart surgery. We need to build trust in our community and make sure that our healthcare professionals are confident. “

Antibody tests are available at all Christus sites in the US, they said.

Another question that comes up is “Is my cold a coronavirus?”

“Is it COVID-10 last week? Was the allergy COVID 19 last week? We’re testing at every Christus facility. For those who may be in the room now,” Bagchi said. You are in the emergency room, and if the governor permits other tests, they will be tested for the woman who gives birth and used to screen your pregnant mother.

“People should not postpone urgent and urgent procedures and should continue to seek the care they need. Heart attacks and strokes are not stopped, regardless of COVID-19. Being urgently in the operating room We need to be able to treat people in need, ”Bagchi continued. “Antibody tests are available, so anyone who has had an emergency surgery can test them, ensuring that COVID-19 is the patient before symptoms start or may be usually tested. You can know. “

This innovative screening solution is in addition to ongoing PCR testing that many providers, including Christus, can perform. PCR is a laboratory technique known as the polymerase chain reaction and is the current FDA-approved test for diagnosing patients with COVID-19.

This is part of what Christus does every day to keep her facility safe from the spread of infection. The following precautions have been added to keep everyone in the hospital or clinic safe:

We screen everyone who comes through our door.

COVID-19 Isolate patients in one area of ​​the facility.

Random temperature check for associates.

Require all associates and visitors to wear masks;

Using telemedicine to treat active COVID-19 patients limits the number of times caregivers and support staff can enter.


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