New LifeLabs antibody test announced for British Columbians

For British Columbians who have been feeling under the weather over the last few months but were never tested for COVID-19, there’s now a way to find out if they’ve had the novel coronavirus.

LifeLabs is offering an antibody, or serology, test for $75.

Read more: Canada secures 26K doses of coronavirus antibody treatment – here’s how it works

It cannot be used to diagnose current cases, but it is helpful for people who are simply curious to learn if they’ve previously had the virus.

It could also be for people who may be suffering from long-term side effects but weren’t diagnosed and aren’t sure, family physician Dr. Pete Henley noted.

“This is a research tool to work out whether or not somebody has had antibodies produced and is therefore had evidence of infection in the past,” he said.

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“If we know that the symptoms are potentially caused by a previous history of COVID-19, then it gives us more of a clinical idea that we don’t have to look for something else,” he added.

For the most accurate results, LifeLabs recommends taking the antibody test three to four weeks after the onset of symptoms or post-exposure.

However, the company also said that current studies suggest that antibodies can still be detected in the system for a number of months afterward.

Read more: Mystery of the coronavirus origin: Experts still seeking answers

In B.C., LifeLabs’ antibody test is currently only available at its clinics, which include Vancouver and Kamloops, but not yet Kelowna.

People who want to take the test are encouraged to talk to their health care provider.

Read more: Two shots. A waiting period. Why the coronavirus vaccine won’t be a quick fix

Henley warned that although a positive test might mean some immunity, it’s not known how long it will last and it’s not guaranteed.

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