After potentially being exposed to the novel coronavirus earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he intends to get a test that detects COVID-19 antibodies when those tests become more widely available.
The prime minister’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested posted for the virus in mid-March. Both she and Trudeau went into isolation when she sought a test.
To date, Trudeau has not reported ever experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — or getting a swab test but said he does plan to get a serological test when asked by a reporter on Tuesday.
“I think serological testing is an important part of understanding exactly how COVID-19 has been present in the country, including the people who haven’t displayed any symptoms at all,” Trudeau said.
“As soon as those tests become more largely available to Canadians, I will certainly ensure that I’m one of them.”
Serological tests are blood tests that detect antibodies produced in response to the infection in a person’s blood. They don’t detect the presence of the coronavirus in the body.
Canada authorized the first use of COVID-19 blood tests in the country earlier this month.
In a statement on May 12, Health Canada said that at least one million Canadian blood samples would be collected and tested over the next two years to track the virus in both the general population and in groups that are at higher risk of being infected, such as health-care workers and the elderly.
“Serological testing will contribute to a better understanding of whether people who have been infected by COVID-19 are immune to the virus,” the statement said.
Grégoire Trudeau, who developed symptoms of COVID-19 after returning from a trip to the U.K., said she had recovered from the virus in late March.
In a news conference on Tuesday, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said Canada has signed a dozen new contracts with domestic companies to manufacture the supplies needed for both tests that detect current infections and those that detect whether someone has been infected in the past.
— With files from Global News’ David Lao and the Canadian PressView link »