Guangzhou to include 50-yuan COVID-19 antibody test into medical insurance

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/26 18:04:15

A staff member handles nucleic acid testing samples at a novel coronavirus detection lab in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 22, 2020.Photo:Xinhua

Guangzhou city in South China's Guangdong province plans to include an antibody test for coro-navirus, covered by local medical insurance scheme. It is said to set the price at around 50 yuan ($7) for a test. 

The new policy is helpful for boosting workers' resumption rates, medical experts said.

Guangzhou Health Bureau issued a notice on Friday to solicit opinions on the coronavirus antibody test on its website. 

It plans to set the price for each test from 40 yuan to 50 yuan, depending on the levels of the hos-pitals providing the service. The notice also stated that the antibody test carried out in designated hospitals in Guangzhou will be covered by medical insurance.

The tests measure IgM or IgG antibodies. IgM is produced first and is detectable five to seven days after infection. It can be used in detecting early diagnosis of the disease. IgG is produced 10 to 15 days after infection and can remain in the bloodstream for a longer period of time.

The test is helpful in boosting work resumption, Zhou Zijun, a public health expert at Peking University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"The test can be included in medical insurance depending on the financial condition of the local government," Zhou said, though he cautioned that people should adopt a scientific attitude toward the prevention against COVID-19 and "ordinary people do not need to have the antibody test."

Local residents are supportive of the new measures to accelerate work resumption. 

The test price is reasonable, and it will help economy reopening, said Wang Haiyan, a recruiter working in the IT industry based in Guangzhou.

"New employees are now required to do nucleic acid testing before enrollment. At present, it takes more than 140 yuan to have a nucleic acid test at a professional testing agency in Guangzhou. If antibody tests are included in medical insurance, new employees can go to designated hospitals for testing and the price is more reasonable," she said. 

Guangzhou reported one new coronavirus case and two asymptomatic cases on Sunday.

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