First coronavirus antibody tests will roll out as quickly as possible, Tam says

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The first serological test — or antibody test — for the novel coronavirus will be rolled out as rapidly as possible, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said on Wednesday.

She said the tests will be used to detect antibodies for COVID-19 that can appear days, or even weeks after the infection to determine how much of the population may have been infected.

The Immunity Task Force has been laying the groundwork to roll out serological testing and is working “as fast as they can,” Tam said.

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“Hopefully this will be quite rapid in terms of its rollout, and we are participating with provinces and existing research networks that have already been formed to look at immunity, as well,” she added.

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Health Canada approved the sale of the first test on Tuesday.

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It said in a statement that at least one million Canadian blood samples will be collected and tested over the next two years as the Canadian government tracks the virus in the general population and in specific groups at greater risk of having been infected,

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