How well is the country doing in the fight against the global pandemic? The answer may lie in our blood. A new Canada COVID-19 antibody study has revealed that the majority of Canadians may still be vulnerable to the virus.
A July 23 press release from McGill University cites work done by Canadian Blood Services and Canada's COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF), which found that a significantly low number of Canadians have been exposed to the coronavirus.
The study, which tested 10,000 individual blood samples from nine provinces collected between May 9 and June 8, found that less than 1% of those samples tested positive for antibodies.
The early results have already caused some concern in regards to how it relates to the recent rise in cases across the country.
"What is clear is that only a small percentage of adult Canadians has been infected by SARS-CoV-2," Professor Catherine Hankins, CITF Co-Chair said in a statement.
"By far, the majority of us remain vulnerable to infection."
She added that testing and tracing needs to be ramped up in order to stop further chains of transmission.
The road is long. Travel together in solidarity to bring solutions for #coronavirus and #ClimateCrisis https://t.co/hiB89MLMRL— Catherine Hankins (@Catherine Hankins) 1594474620.0
CITF Co-Chair Professor David Naylor also warned that there could be several undetected cases for every recorded positive test.
"That lends weight to current public health advice. Please wear a mask in public indoor spaces, wash your hands often, and practice physical distancing if you're around people who aren't in your COVID-19 'bubble,'" he said.
If you, or someone you know, have fully recovered from #COVID19, you could potentially help others recover from the… https://t.co/55MlMb7ar0— Canadian Blood Services (@Canadian Blood Services) 1595412057.0
The number may change after the rest of the total 37,800 donations are tested, as well as samples provided by Héma-Québec which will complete a full ten-province picture.
"Getting an early picture of the levels of population immunity is critical to inform the public health response," said Dr. Marc Germain, Vice-President of Medical Affairs and Innovation at Héma-Québec.
Canada's Deputy Public Health Officer expressed concern at the rising cases among young adults across the country.
He attributed this to more businesses reopening, particularly bars and restaurants.