What the first antibody tests reveal about COVID-19 in Canada

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But Thursday’s data does not include results for Quebec. The province is collecting blood separately from the rest of the country through Héma-Québec, which has promised to publish its own results in the coming days on the number of Quebecers who had contracted the virus.

The COVID-19 Immunity Working Group conducted the research. The group was formed in April to investigate the extent of the disease in Canada and to provide information to help manage the pandemic.

Catherine Hankins, co-chair of the working group and professor of public and population health at McGill University, said in an interview that the data was encouraging because it showed that public health measures were working, but were working. also a warning: Canadian society remains vulnerable.

“It’s really low,” Hankins said of the number of people with antibodies. “It means we have to be on our guard. We have to continue to use masks, physical distance… wash our hands frequently and be very careful about how we go forward for the reopening.

The first antibody tests in Italy suggest that half of Italians living in hard-hit areas may have COVID-19 antibodies. In England, researchers found that 6% of people tested had antibodies, while in Germany the number was 14% and in Spain it was close to 5%.

Canada’s number, by comparison, is small. But Hankins warned that the first data showed only part of Canadian society. On the one hand, the blood the researchers tested came from blood donors – who tend to be healthier than the rest of the population. The study also excluded the very old, the very young and, in addition to lacking data on Quebec – which has been hardest hit by the coronavirus – it is also missing samples from the territories. Another 37,800 blood donations made in May and June have yet to be tested.

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