There have been several questions coming up over the past few weeks regarding the potential benefits and role of antibody testing as a way of enabling safe interactions with others outside of our families. Other jurisdictions have suggested this, and there are several tests available on the market for purchase.
In an effort to clarify matters, we have consulted with our local public health officials, infectious disease experts and others.
At this time, this is what we know:
- Positive antibody tests do not reliably mean that you have protective antibodies and are immune to the COVID-19 virus or that you are not still contagious.
- Some people with positive antibody tests will still be susceptible to infection. And those with true antibodies may remain contagious to others.
- A test that shows that you have antibodies DOES NOT mean that you can return to ‘life as normal’, especially if you are, or have contact with, someone who is elderly or immune-compromised.
- To date, there is one antibody test that has been approved in Canada. It is not yet widely available. Testing of the accuracy and dependability of this antibody test are ongoing.
- The sale or use of unapproved imported devices is not only medically unwise, but it is illegal. Physicians who perform or facilitate these tests may be subject to College complaints and censure.
Therefore, at this time, we strongly caution against seeking out antibody testing or relying on their results to guide behaviour. At this stage of the pandemic, physical distancing measures are the most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves and contribute to the pandemic response.
We empathize with the many difficulties inherent in physical distancing and share the urgency to get back to some kind of normal. At the same time, we also recognize that there are many vulnerable individuals in our community who are at risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
You have all done incredible work in your own ways until now. Please stay strong. Maintain your commitment to following guidelines regarding physical distancing. We all continue to play an important role in protecting each other.
May we merit to see the continued health of our community, and be an ongoing source of strength and support for one another moving forward.