Over a quarter of Quebecers developed COVID-19 antibodies in 2.5 months in 2022

A new study out of Hema-Quebec and the Ministry of Health has found that more than one in four Quebec adults developed antibodies to COVID-19 between the beginning of the year and mid-March.

The Quebec blood agency explains that to obtain the results of this fourth phase of the study, analyses were performed using a test that identifies antibodies present only in people who have been recently infected with the coronavirus. The approach developed by the researchers consists of comparing the level of antibodies in the same individual, on two samples spaced in time.

Hema-Québec said that, due to the Omicron variant wave, a sample collected before the arrival of the variant and another collected since the beginning of 2022 were required for the same individual.

Tests conducted on donors registered in a plasma sample bank have established that 27.8 per cent of the Quebec population contracted COVID-19 between the end of 2021 and March 2022.

Hema-Québec reports that the increased presence of COVID-19 in the population has an impact on its daily blood and plasma collection activities. Since the end of March, the organization has had difficulty reaching its weekly objectives due to cancellations of appointments by infected individuals, even though the needs remain the same.

As a result, the organization is appealing to reach the number of donations needed.

Dr. Gaston DeSerres, head physician at the Immunization Unit of the Quebec Institute of Public Health (INSPQ), points out that seroprevalence studies, such as the one conducted by Hema-Québec, are very useful to public health authorities in monitoring the evolution of the pandemic and are essential for validating models used to predict its evolution.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 9, 2022. 

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