CHRISTUS Health Offers 'Game Changer' Antibodies Test for COVID-19

CHRISTUS Health System is first in the communities it serves to offer new screening tool

Irving, Texas, UNITED STATES


Irving, Tx, April 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Irving, Tx. –  (April, 2020) CHRISTUS Health announced today it is now offering a new screening tool to doctors, nurses and other CHRISTUS Associates on the frontlines to learn who has been infected with COVID-19—AND—who  might now carry protective antibodies.

“CHRISTUS Health is a safe place to receive care, with high-reliability processes and procedures for infection prevention and mitigating the spread of illness,” explained Dr. Sam Bagchi, CHRISTUS Health’s EVP and Chief Clinical Officer. “Beginning today, we are adding the unprecedented additional layer of antibody screening to help survey for asymptomatic COVID-19 infections among patients and caregivers.”

 

For the last several weeks, the team has quickly assessed the test’s reliability and then deployed the kits to CHRISTUS hospitals and ambulatory sites across the United States and Latin America. The test produces results in approximately 10 minutes and has been validated internally for screening for COVID-19 infections.

“CHRISTUS is the first in our communities, and is leading the nation by using advanced COVID-19 antibody testing to screen people in our facilities to determine if they have had a COVID-19 infection in the past or have one now,” said Dave Benner, PharmD, MS, MHA, FACHE Vice President, Clinical Ancillary Services

 

 The country’s leading scientists believe antibody-based tests to be essential in the war against COVID-19.

“This would be a game-changer in restarting parts of the economy more quickly and safely,” Dr. Harvey Fineberg, a professor in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote in an April 1 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

CHRISTUS will first begin using the test on Associates and caregivers on the frontlines. The process will be one that rolls out over a period of time and eventually the hope is to be able to test all Associates. The rapid screening tool will also be used on hospitalized patients that the clinical team believes may have been infected with COVID-19 as well as patients who are scheduled for an urgent surgery.

“People should not put off urgent and emergent procedures, and should continue to seek the care they need. We know that, regardless of COVID-19, heart attacks and strokes have not stopped. We need to be able to treat people who urgently need to be in an operating room,” said Dr. Bagchi. “With the availability of an antibody test, we can test anyone who comes in for an urgent surgery. This will allow us to reliably know if a patient has COVID-19 before they start having symptoms or might normally be tested.”

This innovative screening solution is in an addition to the ongoing PCR tests CHRISTUS is able to perform. PCR is a laboratory technique known as polymerase chain reaction and although much slower to receive results back can also help in diagnosing a patient with COVID-19.

There is a lot of work that CHRISTUS continues to do every day to keep facilities safe from the spread of infection. 

To keep all who enter hospitals and clinics safe we have added the following precautions:

  • Limiting visitors;
  • Screening everyone who comes through our doors;
  • Isolating COVID-19 patients to one area of the facility;
  • Random temperature checks for Associates;
  • Requiring all Associates and visitors to wear masks;
  • Using telemedicine to treat active COVID-19 patients, so their caregivers and support staff limit the number of times they enter their rooms.
  • Virtual medicine is now available in every one of the CHRISTUS ministries at christushealth.org/virtual-medicine

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At CHRISTUS Health, we deliver a complete healing experience that respects the individual. We serve our communities with dignity. And with a good deal of admiration. CHRISTUS Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit system made up of more than 600 centers, including long-term care facilities, community hospitals, walk-in clinics and health ministries. We are a community 45,000 strong, with over 15,000 physicians providing individualized care. Sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston and San Antonio and the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, our mission is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to every individual we serve.


        

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