COVID-19 antibody test now available at B.C., Ontario LifeLabs clinics
VANCOUVER -- Those wondering if they might have had COVID-19 earlier in the pandemic and didn't realize it can now get a test to find out.
LifeLabs announced earlier this week that it's launched an antibody test available in B.C. and Ontario. The test, also known as a serology test, can help health-care providers determine if someone had prior infection or exposure to the disease, even if they never showed symptoms.
However, the test does not diagnose a current COVID-19 infection and shouldn't be used to rule out an active case of the disease. It also doesn't mean someone is immune to COVID-19, even if the test shows antibodies to the disease.
As well, the test is most accurate three or four weeks after the onset of symptoms or exposure, LifeLabs says.
"As we continue to increase our capacity for molecular COVID-19 testing in our labs to detect the virus, we're pleased to also offer antibody testing as another piece of the puzzle to better understand COVID-19," said Charles Brown, president and CEO of LifeLabs, in a news release.
"With this, we look forward to continue building our support for the health care system’s response to the pandemic; where Canadians have access to more important COVID-19 information to help them make informed decisions about their health."
Earlier this month, when B.C. health officials released the latest COVID-19 modelling data, Dr. Bonnie Henry said anonymous antibody screening showed sero-prevalence was still low in the province, at about one per cent. In other words, about one in 100 residents tested antibody positive when the screening was done in September.
In July, that figure was just under one per cent, which Henry said at the time showed B.C. had done well to limit transmission of the disease.
Anyone who is interested in taking the test must first speak to a health-care provider to get a requisition form. The test is available for $75 and individuals can prepay online or at a collection site with a signed requisition form from a health-care provider.