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What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests

What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests

A COVID-19 antibody test is now generally available to Kingston residents, with a doctor’s requisition. The medical laboratory chain Life Labs began offering the Health Canada approved serology test on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Currently available in British Columbia and Ontario, the test costs $75.
However, internal medical expert Dr. Gerald Evans advises that the results of a COVID-19 antibody tests are not always straightforward. He said he can’t think of many clinical circumstances when a doctor would request this information.
“Really it has very little utility in the general practice of medicine,” he said. “Right now the only use that we have for an antibody test, based on the guidelines that are issued, is to use it to investigate children who present with a multi inflammatory syndrome (IMSC)…. That’s really the only clinical utility we have for it,” he said.

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What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests, What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests
What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests, What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests

He also explained that not everybody who gets COVID-19 exhibits the exact same antibody response, which makes the virus different from others such as measles or chickenpox.
“Most people get something, but some people are what we call ‘low-level responders,’ meaning the levels of antibodies that they get could be below a detection level that we’re looking for.”
“So if you wanted to do this test because you’re saying ‘I recall being ill and I think it was COVID,’ you do an antibody test. If it’s negative, it doesn’t really say that you didn’t have a COVID-19 infection. It may mean that you were one of these people that had a very mild infection and didn’t get a big antibody response.”
He also explained that humans make three different types of antibodies in response to a virus — IgG, IgA, IgM.
“IgM antibodies disappear very quickly. If you’re more than a couple of months out from your infection, you won’t find them. IgA antibodies are super tricky because they go up and down, they disappear, and some people don’t make them at all.”
The IgG antibody, which he said believes the Life Labs antibody tests are based on, is much more stable.
Life Labs CEO Charles Brown called antibody testing “another piece of the puzzle to better understand COVID-19.”
The company also explains on their website that a negative result might mean a person has been infected, but that antibody levels were too low for the test to detect. They note that you might receive a negative result, even after being infected, if not enough time has lapsed since the infection, to allow for antibodies to develop.
“Antibody response varies from person-to-person and can take up to three to four weeks post-onset of symptoms or post-exposure to be reliably detectable by antibody assays,” the company said.
Both Dr. Evans and Life Labs note that the test cannot be used to determine a current infection.
“It doesn’t really help in the diagnosis of COVID-19. Antibodies are made after you’re infected or when you’re in that recovery phase,” Dr. Evans said.

COVID-19 antibodies do not mean immunity

Dr. Evans said that typically, the IgG antibodies for the measles can be detected by a test in anyone that has ever had, or been inoculated against, the virus, even years later. They also indicate immunity. In the case of COVID-19, he said, it’s not the same thing.
“We still don’t quite have the exact test that tells us that those antibodies we’re measuring are at a high enough level or are responsible for neutralizing the virus, which would then predict that you’re immune,” he said.
“We’ve found people that even have these antibodies, they may not be in sufficient quantity. Or, it may not be the right antibody that actually protects them and gives them immunity. That’s the big problem.
“You could imagine somebody saying: ‘I’m going to get the test done to show that I’m immune,’ and that’s not really what it’s telling you.”
Life Labs website states that a positive test result does not infer immunity. They recommend getting the blood test three to four weeks after the onset of symptoms, adding that it’s possible to detect antibodies up to four months post-exposure.
“We look forward, to continue building our support for the healthcare system’s response to the pandemic, where Canadians have access to more important COVID-19 information to help them make informed decisions about their health,” Brown said.
 


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What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests, What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests

What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests, What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests

Categories
health

Symptoms of Covid: loss of taste, deafness

Symptoms of Covid: loss of taste, deafness, shortness of breath

Symptoms of Covid: loss of taste, deafness, shortness of breath

AVIRUS SYMPTOMS. Very specific symptoms should allow you to detect Covid such as anosmia. How to detect the signs? What to do ? Here is our complete file on the signs of the coronavirus.

Covid is always difficult to distinguish from a common cold or the flu, but there are several symptoms that can really help distinguish it. According to British researchers, who indicated this information in the journal BMJ Case Reports, deafness is now a proven symptom of the coronavirus. “This is the first case of sensorineural hearing loss following a Covid-19 infection in the UK” according to the scientists of this study before adding in the article that “four other cases have been described previously “. The patient’s breathing difficulties led the staff of the establishment to transfer him to the intensive care unit, and to intubate him for a period of thirty days. After the intubation, the symptom started. “A week after his extubation, and his release from the intensive care unit, he noticed tinnitus in his left ear, followed by the occurrence of sudden hearing loss.” After examining his ear canals, doctors found that they were not inflamed and that his eardrums remained intact. The Brit therefore underwent a series of intratympanic steroid injections which allowed him to partially recover. “Despite the considerable literature on Covid-19 and the various symptoms associated with the virus, there is a lack of discussion on the link between Covid-19 and hearing,” scientists lament.
Loss of taste is also a key element in distinguishing Covid from the rest of the diseases. This pathology occurs in “30 to 50% of infected adults” explains the Institut Pasteur. According to several studies, patients with loss of smell are more likely to develop “mild covid”. On BFM TV, Jérôme Lechien, ENT doctor at the Foch hospital in Suresnes confirms. “When we look at the differences in the prevalence of loss of smell, we realize that for mild patients, we oscillate between 70 and 85%, and in severe patients we are more or less at around 10 to 20%”.
Also note that many people complain of symptoms long after infection with Covid, the term “long Covid” is also used for these cases. According to a study carried out by the British Institute for Research for Health (NIHR), they would suffer for months after the disappearance of the initial infection of disorders of the brain (“brain fog”), lungs, intestines, liver etc … “The lack of a definition may have an impact on the ability of patients to have their symptoms and experiences properly recognized and treated by the health services, which in turn may have an additional psychological impact, in particular for out-of-hospital patients who have never been officially diagnosed, ”the report states in particular.
What are the first symptoms linked to the coronavirus?
According to the Ministry of Solidarity and Health, the incubation period for Covid-19 is generally three to five days, however this can go up to fourteen days. This is the period between contamination and the appearance of the first symptoms. But what exactly are they? A person infected with the virus may experience a dry cough, fever, and early fatigue. These symptoms appear gradually in some individuals, having a mild cough at first. Other people do not suffer from these signs although they are still infected. We then speak of “asymptomatic” patients, which makes detection of the disease much more difficult.
Researchers from the University of Southern California have published a study on Frontiers in Public Health, on the appearance of the first symptoms of Covid-19. They seem to manifest in a given order:

  1. Fever above 38.5 ° C for two or three days.
  2. Cough.
  3. Muscle aches.
  4. Nausea.
  5. Diarrhea.

Scientists compared this analysis to the flu. For the latter, it is the cough that breaks out first, unlike Covid-19 which would first cause a high fever. Information gathering took place in February in China, when the country was most affected by the disease in the world. 55,000 confirmed cases were used in the development of this study.
How to differentiate a cold from Covid-19?
When we wake up in the morning and face a series of sneezes or simply have a runny nose, we can very quickly associate these symptoms with the coronavirus and not with a simple cold. However, one very important element should allow you to distinguish the two and prevent you from going to the doctor: fever. The Covid-19, unless you are an asymptomatic case, must initially cause a high fever of over 38 °. Although the common cold can bring on a slight fever, most of the time you shouldn’t have this symptom but just mild fatigue which shouldn’t interfere with your daily activities. The common cold can or should also lead to a sore throat, sneezing, congestion and / or a runny nose, symptoms that should appear more slowly than with Covid, which makes them appear suddenly. Note also that sneezing is not a proven symptom of the coronavirus or even a runny nose.
Are fever and body aches symptoms of coronavirus?
As with the seasonal flu, fever and body aches are very common symptoms of Covid-19. The level of fever is variable from one individual to another, but generally the coronavirus causes a fever higher than 38 °. If you want to fight fever or pain, choose paracetamol over anti-inflammatory drugs and ibuprofen, which are suspected of worsening symptoms in coronavirus. If in doubt, stay home and call your doctor.
Does coronavirus cause a dry or oily cough?
Covid patients most often have a dry cough, but it can also sometimes be oily. Aurore Jégu-Pétrot, nurse, reported on BFMTV that this cough, if it becomes unmanageable, should alert: “When you see that you are coughing to choke you, you tell yourself that you are going to need respiratory help” .. However, in the majority of cases, this cough goes away on its own. The WHO advises calling your GP if you have a dry cough.
What is anosmia, a particular symptom of the coronavirus?
Several ENTs alerted the authorities in mid-March of the appearance of a new symptom: anosmia, or loss of smell. This loss of smell would seem to be a pathognomonic symptom, that is to say a clinical sign which, by itself, makes it possible to establish the diagnosis. This symptom is the only specific presentation of the new coronavirus. Dr Corré, ENT at the Rothschild Foundation Hospital in Paris, theorized: “The SARS-Cov-2 virus is attracted to the nerves: when it enters the nose, instead of attacking the mucous membrane like the like the usual rhinoviruses, it attacks the olfactory nerve and blocks the odor molecules “. The doctor assured: “In the current context, if you have anosmia without a blocked nose, you are Covid positive, it is not worth going to be tested.”