CLIFTON, NJ – A pharmacy in Clifton is among one of the first in New Jersey to offer screenings for coronavirus that deliver results in a matter of minutes.

CureMed Pharmacy recently launched a rapid antibody COVID-19 test, which involves a simple finger prick to draw a blood sample that can determine whether you’ve had the virus.

So far, CureMed Pharmacy has administered hundreds of tests and has a waiting list full of people eager to get screened for coronavirus, according to Ghada Abukuwaik, CureMed’s owner and head pharmacist.

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“People can walk in and get tested. It’s a point-of-care testing. We have procedures for safety and precautions for social distancing,” she said. The test’s arrival at CureMed is part of an overall effort across the country to expand testing during the pandemic. 

“Pharmacists are trusted healthcare professionals with established relationships with their patients. The vast majority of Americans live close to a retail or independent community-based pharmacy. The proximity reduces travel to testing locations, which is an important mitigation measure. Pharmacists also have strong relationships with medical providers and hospitals to appropriately refer patients when necessary,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in an April 8 statement.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department gave licensed pharmacists the OK to order and administer COVID-19 tests and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  approved several antibody tests under its Emergency Use Authorization. 

Abukuwaik said it’ll be helpful in determining who has been infected and who might still be vulnerable to exposure. It could also identify people who could provide donations of blood and plasma that could potentially save the lives of critically ill patients, she added.

The test at CureMed, which was manufactured by Premier Biotech, looks for the presence of immunoglobulin M (IgM) or immunoglobulin g (IgG) in the blood sample provided.

Abukuwaik said, “People can go back to work if the IgG antibody appears on the kit. It means that you had the virus more than two weeks ago. It’s a past infection but keep precautions and social distancing all the time. Of course, it depends on the work policy and state regulations.”

“If the results show IgM “that means you have recent infection and you still have to be in the quarantine and your doctor would give you medication after consultation,” she said. 

In the Garden State, which is home to 8.94 million people, there are 88,806 confirmed cases and 4,377 coronavirus-related deaths, as of Monday. In Passaic County, there are 8,288 cases and 250 deaths reported. 

Over the past month and a half, as the outbreak has spread, CureMed has found a few ways to try to help Passaic County residents, first responders and healthcare workers.

Those efforts have included: 

  • Compounding hand sanitizer, which was given to local first responders and hospitals

  • Donating masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and alcohol pads to police departments in Clifton, Passaic, Paterson and Totowa, as well as St. Joseph’s Medical Center

  • Hosting an April 10 drive-thru giveaway of free masks, gloves and sanitizer that provided over 2,500 people with personal protective equipment 

  • Offering curbside prescription pick-up

CureMed Pharmacy also continues to provide locals with all their regular pharmaceutical needs throughout the epidemic, Abukuwaik said.

Her pharmacy also started collaborating with nearby pharmacies to help each other out in order to “provide our very best services to the community as one power hand,” she said.

“We are part of the community,” she said. “Patient health is our first priority.”

For more information, call CureMed Pharmacy at 862-225-9432 or visit them online by clicking here.

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