LifeLabs releases COVID-19 antibody blood test to identify virus exposure

Nov 23 2020, 3:59 pm

LifeLabs Canada, the country’s leading laboratory in diagnostic information, announced on Monday the launch of COVID-19 antibody blood testing as a way of identifying previous exposure to the virus.

While the new testing method does not diagnose infection, it can help healthcare providers understand prior infection and exposure even for asymptomatic patients, states the release from LifeLabs.

The release also specifies that as it takes the body several weeks to develop antibodies from the virus, tests should only be taken three to four weeks after experiencing symptoms.

“The COVID-19 antibody test is a blood test to detect antibodies to the virus,” reads the LifeLab website. “Results of the test show whether you had a recent or prior COVID-19 infection. The antibody test is not to be used for diagnosis of active COVID-19 infection.”

While it is still unknown whether or not the presence of antibodies makes an individual immune to coronavirus or re-infection, Charles Brown, president and CEO of LifeLabs, says testing provides a new way of understanding the virus.

“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 Brown. “With this, we look forward to continuing building our support for the health care system’s response to the pandemic.”

Antibody tests are now available for individual purchase in BC and Ontario for $75. Customers can order and pre-pay online or purchase at a collection site with a signed requisition from a doctor or healthcare provider.

Appointments are recommended in keeping with capacity regulations, but the company welcomes walk-ins.

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