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COVID-19 Antibody Testing

COVID-19 Antibody Blood Test Panel

Find out if you have COVID-19 Antibodies.
This test panel can be used to assess recent or previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 as well as determine the presence of antibodies in individuals who have been vaccinated against the virus.
Click here for travel testing

How is the test performed?

Blood sample.

Find out which COVID-19 test is right for you


There are two different ways to purchase a COVID-19 Antibody Test Panel

Purchase the pre-signed antibody requisition by selecting order now

or

Review the “How can I get tested?” FAQ for instruction on how to get a signed requisition directly from your healthcare provider and pay at the time of your collection.

Pre-Signed Antibody Requisition

  • Requisition form signed by LifeLabs ordering provider will be shared with you upon purchase.
  • To learn more click the order button below.

Cost: $90

Order Now

Please Note:

At sample collection you will be asked for your Personal Health Number (PHN) or Health Card Number (HCN). This information will only be used to share your test results through MyCareCompass and will not be used for billing purposes.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 was identified in December 2019 and declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. 

Type and severity of symptoms of an active COVID-19 infection vary greatly between individuals depending on their age, gender, and underlying medical conditions.  The most commonly reported ones include fever, loss of smell, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, feeling weak or lethargic, chills, muscle pain, light-headedness or dizziness, headache, vomiting or diarrhea, slurred speech, and/or seizures.  Less common symptoms include stuffy nose, conjunctivitis (pink eye), dizziness, confusion, abdominal pain, and skin rashes or discoloration of fingers or toes.  Many studies show that a percentage of infected individuals may not exhibit any symptoms at all. 

 Disclaimer 

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, test standards and requirements continue to evolve.  LifeLabs will work to maintain testing which meets these evolving standards. However, it is not possible to predict every change which might occur, or the timing of any change.  Health care providers and their patients should recognize that this risk is outside of LifeLabs’ control. 

Antibodies are proteins generated by our immune system in response to infectious agents. Antibodies can be produced even if a person has few or no symptoms during the infection. Anti-viral antibodies are also produced as part of the immune response to vaccination. 

The COVID-19 Antibody Test Panel can be used to assess recent or previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 as well as determine the presence of antibodies in individuals who have been vaccinated against the virus.  This test is most accurate when sample is collected 3-4 weeks after exposure or onset of symptoms or post-vaccination. 

At this time, it is not known if the presence of antibodies to COVID-19 means you are immune to the virus and protected from re-infection.  Importantly, it is not known how long antibody response to the COVID-19 virus and vaccination lasts. Based on current studies, antibodies to the COVID-19 virus can be detected up to 10 months post-exposure. The antibody test panel is not to be used for diagnosis of active COVID-19 infection. 

The COVID-19 Antibody Panel offered by LifeLabs contains the following two tests: 

  1. SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid total antibody: a qualitative test that helps assess natural exposure only. 
  1. SARS-CoV-2 Spike total antibody: a quantitative test that determines presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein generated post vaccination and/or natural exposure to the virus but cannot differentiate between the two. 

LifeLabs offers three types of COVID-19 tests. 

The molecular test (i.e., polymerase chain reaction or PCR)detects SARS-CoV-2 genetic material and is used to diagnose an active COVID-19 infection. A sample type used in molecular testing is a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab.  

The rapid antigen test detects SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid protein and may be used to diagnose an active COVID-19 infection. A sample type used in rapid antigen testing is a nasopharyngeal (NP) or nasal swab. 

The COVID-19 Antibody Test Panel is a blood test to detect antibodies to the virus.  Results of the test show whether you had a recent or prior COVID-19 infection and/or if you have produced anti-viral antibodies as part of your immune response to vaccination.  The Antibody Test Panel is not to be used for diagnosis of active COVID-19 infection. 

VIEW INFOGRAPHIC 

If you suspect that you previously had COVID-19, even if you were asymptomatic, your healthcare provider may order an antibody test to assess recent or prior infection.  In addition, this test could determine the presence of antibodies postvaccination. Antibody responses to the virus and vaccination take some time to develop and vary between individuals.  For most accurate results it is recommended the antibody test is ordered 3-4 weeks post-onset of symptoms/post-exposure or post-vaccination. 

Pre-Signed Antibody Requisition: 

  • You purchase a requisition form pre-signed by LifeLabs ordering provider.  After payment you will receive an email with a secure link to your electronic requisition. You will need to print that requisition form and bring it to your collection appointment.  The cost per test for the pre-signed requisition is $90.

Signed Requisition from your Healthcare Provider: 

  • To get tested for COVID-19 antibodies, you also have the option to talk to your healthcare provider and have them provide you with a signed test requisition form. If you are consulting your physician via phone or virtually, you can request them to email you a PDF of the requisition form. You can then print the requisition form and visit a LifeLabs patient service centre (PSC) to get your blood sample collected and pay for the COVID-19 Antibody Test Panel. The cost per test is $80 when the requisition is provided and signed by your healthcare provider.​

     Healthcare provider instructions for using the standard laboratory requisitions:

  • In Ontario, by writing ‘COVID-19 Antibodies’ in the ‘Other Tests’ section of the standard MOH-issued OHIP requisition. Please check the box for ‘Uninsured / Third party’ when filling the requisition. ​
  • In British Columbia, by writing ‘COVID-19 Antibodies’ in the ‘Other Tests’ section of the LifeLabs standard laboratory requisition for your specific region. Please check the box for Bill-to ‘Patient’ when filling the requisition.

To get tested in the Okanagan region via Valley Medical Laboratories you must pre-pay online by clicking the ‘Order Now’ button. Note that you will be charged a separate collection fee of $25 at Valley Medical Laboratories on the day of your appointment. 

COVID-19 antibody testing is not an insured service through MSP.  Your physician cannot bill MSP for signing the requisition or for any follow up consultation concerning the results.  In addition to the test fee, you are required to pay your physician for their services in relation to this test. 

Find the nearest LifeLabs Location  

Book an Appointment 

 

 

Results will be available within 4 business days from sample collection in MyCareCompass if you provided your Personal Health Number (PHN) or Health Card Number (HCN) during your sample collection appointment.  This information will not be used for billing purposes.  

*LifeLabs normally will be able to report a test result within 4 business days for collections at our Patient Service Centres. For collections done outside of LifeLabs’ locations, please add 3-5 business days to the turnaround time.  

The COVID-19 Antibody Test Panel has two tests. One detects antibodies against the nucleocapsid protein of the virus particle acquired through natural infection, while the other detects antibodies against the spike protein of the virus particle acquired through natural infection or vaccination.

A negative COVID-19 antibody test result means that antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were not detected in your blood sample. This could mean that: 

SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid (N) Total Antibody 

SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) Total Antibody  

  • You have not been infected with SARS-CoV-2, or 
  • You have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the past, but your antibody levels were too low for the test to detect, or 
  • You have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, but there has not been enough time for antibodies to develop (antibody response varies from person-to-person and can take up to 3-4 weeks post-onset of symptoms or post-exposure to be reliably detectable by antibody assays). 
  • Some studies indicate that a small percentage of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 do not have detectible antibodies (< 4%). Immunocompromised individuals may have low antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 

 

  • You have not been infected with SARS-CoV-2, or 
  • You have not been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, or 
  • You may have been infected or vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, but the level of antibodies is too low to be detected, or 
  • There has not been enough time for antibodies to develop (antibody response varies from person-to-person and can take up to 3-4 weeks post-onset of symptoms or post-exposure to be reliably detectable by antibody assays 
  • Some studies indicate that a small percentage of people infected with or vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 do not have detectible antibodies (< 4%). Immunocompromised individuals may have low antibody responses. 

 

 

A positive antibody test result means that antibodies were detected in your blood sample. This typically indicates that: 

SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid (N) Total Antibody 

SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) Total Antibody  

  • You have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 virus in the recent past. 
  • In rare instances, falsely positive results may be caused by cross-reactivity of the test with other viruses 
  • The positive result does NOT infer immunity or protection from re-infection. 
  • You have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 virus in the recent past. 
  • You have been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 
  • In rare instances, falsely positive results may be caused by cross-reactivity of the test with other viruses 
  • The positive result does NOT infer immunity or protection from re-infection. 

 

Interpretation of the results requires consideration of both tests together, and the most plausible interpretations are provided in the table below. 

SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid Total Antibody 

SARS-CoV-2 Spike Total Antibody 

 

Plausible Interpretation* 

Negative 

Negative (<0.8U/ml) 

The results suggest undetectable levels of antibody generated in response to either natural infection or vaccination. 

Negative 

Positive (≥0.8U/ml) 

The results are consistent with an immune response due to vaccination. The correlation between antibody levels and immunity is not yet established. 

Positive 

Positive (≥0.8U/ml) 

The results suggest recent or prior infection with or without vaccination. The correlation between antibody levels and immunity is not yet established. 

Positive 

Negative (<0.8U/ml) 

Results suggest recent or prior infection. 

 

*Limitations of testing:  

  • The COVID-19 antibody test panel is not to be used for diagnosis of an active COVID-19 infection. The molecular test/rapid antigen test may be used to diagnose active infection. 
  • The result of the COVID-19 antibody test panel cannot tell you whether you are infectious (actively shedding virus). 
  • False negative and false positive results are possible. Please consult with your physician to understand your lab test results.  

Please discuss both positive and negative results with your physician.  

Consulting with your physician to understand your result is not insured or covered by MSP.  Your healthcare provider will determine the fee you will pay for this service. 

The COVID-19 Antibody Test Panel is comprised of two blood tests that detect antibodies reactive to SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) and spike (S) proteins. These tests can be used to assess recent or previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 as well as the presence of total antibodies post-vaccination.  Unlike a molecular or antigen COVID-19 test, the antibody test is not used in diagnosis of active infection. 

The Antibody Test Panel is most accurate (has highest clinical sensitivity) when a blood sample is collected 3-4 weeks after onset of symptoms/exposure or post-vaccination.  

At this time, it is not known if the presence of antibodies to COVID-19 means an individual is immune to the virus and protected from re-infection.  Importantly, it is not known how long antibody response to the COVID-19 virus lasts.   Based on current studies, antibodies to the COVID-19 virus can be detected up to 10 months post-exposure, but levels vary between individuals depending on disease severity, with levels higher in severe and lower in milder/asymptomatic cases. Antibody levels can also be lower in immunocompromised individuals. In addition, the level of antibody that offers adequate protection has not been established. 

The Roche Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 N Total Antibody is a semi-quantitative immunoassay which detects antibodies (IgG, IgM, and IgA) to the nucleocapsid (N) antigen of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Roche Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S Total Antibody is a quantitative immunoassay which detects antibodies (IgG, IgM, and IgA) to the Spike (S) protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Both assays detect high affinity antibodies, therefore favoring IgG, and do not differentiate between antibody type. The performance of both tests meet Health Canada requirements for COVID-19 antibody tests. 

The predictive value of the test is strongly dependent on prevalence of disease. Thus, clinical correlation is strongly recommended for test ordering and interpretation. 

The COVID-19 Antibody Test Panel now offered by LifeLabs can be used to detect anti-viral antibodies following vaccination and/or natural infection. The test detects antibodies against the nucleocapsid (N) protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and antibodies to the spike (S) protein of the virus particle (1), elicited by vaccination and/or infection. 

You may consider ordering the COVID-19 antibody panel in the following circumstances*: 

  • If a patient has signs and symptoms of COVID-19 but has repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19 by a molecular test 
  • In a diagnostic workup of patients who display long-term symptoms of COVID-19 (persisting for a number of months) but who have never been diagnosed by a molecular test (e.g. due to lack of eligibility for testing). 
  • To detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies generated following COVID-19 vaccination  

*Please note that these are suggestions only, as evidence for the diagnostic use of COVID-19 serology testing is still evolving. 

Additional potential non-diagnostic applications for COVID-19 antibody testing include: 

  • Outbreak investigations (after molecular testing) 
  • Clearance for travel (after molecular testing) as defined by the travel testing requirements of the destination 
  • Clinical trials 
  • Laboratory testing for insurance companies 
  • Sero-prevalence studies 

The COVID-19 Antibody Test Panel has two tests. One detects antibodies against the nucleocapsid protein of the virus particle, while the other detects antibodies against the spike protein of the virus particle.  

A negative COVID-19 antibody test result means that antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were not detected in a patient’s blood sample. This could mean that: 

SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid Total Antibody 

SARS-CoV-2 Spike Total Antibody  

  • They have not been infected with SARS-CoV-2, or 
  • They have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the past, but their antibody levels were too low for the test to detect, or 
  • They have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, but there has not been enough time for antibodies to develop (antibody response varies from person-to-person and can take up to 3-4 weeks post-onset of symptoms or post-exposure to be reliably detectable by antibody assays). 
  • Some studies indicate that a small percentage of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 do not have detectible antibodies (< 4%). Immunocompromised individuals may have low antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 

 

  • They have not been infected with SARS-CoV-2, or 
  • They have not been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, or 
  • They may have been infected or vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, but the level of antibodies is too low to be detected, or 
  • There has not been enough time for antibodies to develop (antibody response varies from person-to-person and can take up to 3-4 weeks post-onset of symptoms or post-exposure to be reliably detectable by antibody assays 
  • Some studies indicate that a small percentage of people infected with or vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 do not have detectible antibodies (< 4%). Immunocompromised individuals may have low antibody responses. 

 

 

A positive antibody test result means that antibodies were detected in a patient’s blood sample. This typically indicates that: 

SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid Total Antibody 

SARS-CoV-2 Spike Total Antibody  

  • They have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 virus in the recent past. 
  • In rare instances, falsely positive results may be caused by cross-reactivity of the test with other viruses 
  • The positive result does NOT infer immunity or protection from re-infection. 
  • They have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 virus in the recent past. 
  • They have been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 
  • In rare instances, falsely positive results may be caused by cross-reactivity of the test with other viruses 
  • The positive result does NOT infer immunity or protection from re-infection. 

 

Interpretation of the results requires consideration of both tests together, and the most plausible interpretations are provided in the table below. 

SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid Total Antibody 

SARS-CoV-2 Spike Total Antibody 

 

Plausible Interpretation* 

Negative 

Negative (<0.8U/ml) 

The results suggest undetectable levels of antibody generated in response to either natural infection or vaccination. 

Negative 

Positive (≥0.8U/ml) 

The results are consistent with an immune response due to vaccination. The correlation between antibody levels and immunity is not yet established. 

Positive 

Positive (≥0.8U/ml) 

The results suggest recent or prior infection with or without vaccination. The correlation between antibody levels and immunity is not yet established. 

Positive 

Negative (<0.8U/ml) 

Results suggest recent or prior infection. 

 

*Limitations of testing:  

  • The COVID-19 antibody test panel is not to be used for diagnosis of an active COVID-19 infection. The molecular test/rapid antigen test may be used to diagnose active infection. 
  • The result of the COVID-19 antibody test panel cannot tell you whether you are infectious (actively shedding virus). 
  • False negative and false positive results are possible. Please consult with your physician to understand your lab test results.  

Antibody testing must be ordered by a healthcare provider. Patients can make an appointment at a LifeLabs patient service center for this test. 

Healthcare providers can order the COVID-19 antibodies test for their patients in following ways: 

Using the standard laboratory requisitions: 

In Ontario, by writing ‘COVID-19 Antibodies’ in the ‘Other Tests’ section of the standard MOH-issued OHIP requisition. Please check the box for ‘Uninsured / Third party’ when filling the requisition. 

In British Columbia, by writing ‘COVID-19 Antibodies’ in the ‘Other Tests’ section of the LifeLabs standard laboratory requisition for your specific region. Please check the box for Bill-to ‘Patient’ when filling the requisition. 

An appointment at a LifeLabs Patient Service Centre is recommended for this blood draw although, walk-ins are also welcome. 

LifeLabs offers COVID-19 antibody testing as a patient-paid service for individuals who fall outside the coverage criteria set by public health. Physicians are advised that billing the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (in BC) or the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (in ON) for ordering this service through LifeLabs is not authorized. 

If you provide your patient with a signed requisition for the antibody test panel the cost is $80 (Currently not covered by ON or BC provincial health plans).  The customer will pay for the test at their collection appointment. 

Results will be available to the ordering physician within 4 business days from the date of specimen pickup. 

*LifeLabs normally will be able to report a test result within 4 business days.  However, events outside of LifeLabs’ control may affect LifeLabs’ ability to meet this turnaround time.  The customer accepts the risk of such events.  LifeLabs will not be liable to the customer for such events.   

The LifeLabs COVID-19 antibody test may be scheduled directly by the patient at any of our Patient Service Centres offering this service. They must have a requisition form completed by a physician or healthcare provider. 

Find the nearest LifeLabs Location  

Book an Appointment 

 

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