The doctor overseeing Canada’s COVID-19 antibody research says by mid-July we should get the first glimpse of how many Canadians might have already contracted the novel coronavirus.
Dr. Timothy Evans, the executive director of the Immunity Task Force, warns it will take much longer before we know whether having antibodies from COVID-19 will prevent reinfection.
Evans says as many as 1,600 blood samples are already being tested every day looking for signs a patient has the antibodies from having been previously infected with the coronavirus.
The first tests are being run on 40,000 samples collected from people who donated blood to either Canadian Blood Services or Hema Quebec since May.
He says the task force hopes to have a snapshot of how many people have the COVID-19 antibodies within the next two weeks and more detailed information, including age and geography, by the end of the month.
Around 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since January but the rate of infection is expected to be much higher, since testing was limited for months and many never show symptoms.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.