Health Canada says it has authorized the first COVID-19 serological test for use in the country to detect antibodies specific to the virus.
DiaSorin, an Italian multinational biotechnology company, had developed the LIAISON test that was also recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In a statement Tuesday, Health Canada says it will be used in Canadian laboratories to detect COVID-19 antibodies and help contribute to a better understanding of whether people who have been infected are immune to the virus.
Health Canada says further research will also help understand the relationship between positive antibody tests and protection against reinfection.
The Canadian agency says at least one million Canadian blood samples will be collected and tested over the next two years to track the virus in the general population and in specific groups at greater risk of having been infected, including health-care workers and seniors.
“Health Canada will continue to focus on the health and safety of Canadians while expediting supply of safe and effective health products related to COVID-19,” the statement says.
Speaking Wednesday morning, chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam the serology would give a sense of how many Canadians had been infected but did not take a test at the time.
Tam said the two year timespan of testing will give researchers “even more information about how effective are these antibodies are against protecting someone from a second encounter with the virus, and how long this immunity lasts for.”
Tam said Canada is also looking at other countries that have begun serological testing to see what works and what does not.
B.C. has also introduced a serology survey to to help determine immunity across the population
– with files from Katya Slepian/Black Press Media
The Canadian Press
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.