More than one in four adults, or 27.8% of Quebecers, developed COVID-19 antibodies between the end of 2021 and mid-March 2022, indicates a new study carried out by Héma-Québec.
“The Omicron variant spread rapidly and overwhelmed the capabilities for screening for acute SARS-CoV-2 infections using PCR testing in Quebec and the rest of Canada,” explained Dr.r Tim Evans, Executive Director of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (TICG).
According to him, this is the best assessment of the full extent of the infection during the first wave of Omicron.
For this fourth phase of the study on the seroprevalence of blood donors, the analyzes were carried out using a test making it possible to identify the antibodies present only in people who have been recently infected with SARS-CoV- 2.
The researchers compared the level of antibodies, in the same individual, on two samples spaced out over time.
Since the start of the pandemic, Héma-Québec has supported public health authorities by conducting seroprevalence studies among blood or plasma donors.
“Héma-Québec has privileged access to donors who generously agree to participate in such studies and from whom samples can be easily obtained and analyzed in our laboratories,” said Dr.r Marc Germain, Vice-President Medical Affairs and Innovation.
“Seroprevalence studies are proving very useful to public health authorities in monitoring the evolution of the pandemic. These data are also essential to validate the models that are used to predict the evolution of the pandemic,” said Dr Gaston De Serres, chief physician at the Immunization Unit of the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ).
These studies are carried out at the request and thanks to the financial support of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) of Quebec and the Canadian government through the (GTIC).
Decreased blood supply
Daily blood and plasma collection activities are bearing the brunt of this increased presence of COVID-19 in the population, especially since the end of March.
Héma-Québec is struggling to achieve its weekly objectives, due to appointment cancellations by people with COVID-19.
However, the needs remain the same: every 80 seconds, a person needs a blood donation in Quebec and 1,000 donations are needed per day to meet the needs of hospitals.
Héma-Québec is thus launching an appeal to reach the number of donations needed.
Héma-Québec invites anyone to plan a donation now by making an appointment on the website at hema-quebec.qc.ca or at 1 800 343-7264 (SANG).
People passing by a collection site or a donation center are invited to check the possibility of making a donation on site.
Héma-Québec also asks anyone who has made an appointment and is unable to attend to remember to cancel it.