TORONTO – Statistics Canada is sending pin-prick blood tests to 48,000 Canadians to assess the prevalence of the virus in the country.
In what is one of the first large-scale investigations of its kind in Canada, researchers are examining blood samples for antibodies linked to the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Although this is a voluntary survey, your participation is important because your contribution will play an important role in understanding past infections by measuring the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies among Canadians, including those who do not. have never had symptoms, ”Stats Canada wrote in the brochure.
Each participant will first be invited to complete an online questionnaire. After giving your consent, a test kit will be sent to that person’s address.
Random sample tests sent to Canadians include gloves, needle, alcohol swabs, and sealable packaging. Participants will be asked to prick their fingers and make an impression on each of the five marks on a card of dried blood.
The blood samples will be sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for analysis.
The antibody test specifically determines whether an individual has ever had COVID-19, as opposed to someone who has an active case of the virus.
Participants will also receive a copy of their lab reports, along with their test result and other health information, in return, according to the survey. The results will also determine whether the antibodies result from receiving a vaccine.
Canadians will also be asked to consent to sharing the information they provide with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and provincial and territorial ministries of health.
Due to the number of COVID-19 cases that go unreported, an investigation of this type is one of the ways that health officials can get a better idea of the pandemic in Canada.
Only Statistics Canada employees will perform the data linkage. The investigation will continue until March.
“All linked data will be kept confidential under the Statistics Act. We will not provide any information about you to your provincial / territorial health ministry or any other organization, ”Statistics Canada said.
This story has been updated to indicate that there are five marks to be made on the Dried Blood Card.