More than eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 30,000 British Columbians have been infected with the virus.
Are you one of them? You might not know, as many COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, or may have been confused for a different infection.
Starting in November, LifeLabs is offering an antibody test to any British Columbians interested in one. According to the company, antibody testing, also known as serology testing, can help patients find out if they’ve had prior a infection, even if they were asymptomatic. For best results, the test should be performed three to four weeks following a COVID-19 infection, but antibodies can stick around for months.
As of Thursday (Nov. 25), at least 347,466 people in Canada have tested positive for COVID-19, although the real number of cases is thought to be much higher. A study by Canadian Blood Services found that less than one per cent of 37,373 blood samples collected across Canada (except Quebec and the Territories) from May 9 to June 18 had antibodies for COVID-19.
LifeLabs warns that a prior case of COVID-19 should not be used to imply immunity, and that all protective measures and public health orders must be followed regardless. It’s also different from a diagnostic test, for example the PCR swab test, as those look for a current infection. Not having antibodies does not mean someone is not currently infected.
According to LifeLabs, about four per cent of people will not develop antibodies after a COVID-19 infection.
The test is done via blood sample, will cost $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario for $75, and can only be done if a doctor signs off on it. Visit www.lifelabs.com for more information.
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