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SARS CoV-2 Antibody Testing (COVID-19 Serology)

COVID-19 serology testing is not available in B.C. for routine clinical use nor is it recommended for clinical diagnostic purposes. 

Use of antibody testing is recommended for

  • a limited number of clinical scenarios, or
  • at the direction of Medical Health Officers as part of public health investigations, or
  • epidemiologic and research studies

Requests for serological testing for clinical purposes require prior approval by a Clinical or Medical Microbiologist. 

SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing for the following clinical and public health indications:

Hospitalized patients:

  • Patients who present with atypical clinical manifestations such as inflammatory syndromes; i.e.. multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
  • To help diagnose patients who are SARS-CoV-2 RNA negative, but present with a compatible syndrome, or who present later during their disease course. It is important to note that serological testing becomes reliable after 14 or more days post-symptom onset. Testing at earlier time points may result in false negative results.
  • Case-by-case testing after consultation with a Clinical/Medical microbiologist.

Testing will also be available to address public health needs based on guidance from provincial and regional medical health officers.

Ordering, collection, and interpreting results

Ordering COVID-19 serology does NOT follow routine serology testing procedures. To request serology for COVID-19 for clinical purposes on a case-by-case basis, please consult your local or BCCDC Clinical or Medical Microbiologist. They will be able to advise on test utility, timelines for availability, and provide assistance with test interpretation.

Information for patients

SARS CoV-2 Antibody (COVID-19 serology) tests use a sample of your blood to check for antibodies. Your body makes antibodies after it's infected by a virus or other infectious agent, or after you receive a vaccination. It takes time for your body to make antibodies. They usually start to appear in your blood 7 to 10 days after your initial infection or after your vaccination. Learn more from the Public Health Agency of Canada:

SOURCE: SARS CoV-2 Antibody Testing (COVID-19 Serology) ( )
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