As the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic passes its peak, clinicians, public health officials, and policymakers around the world have a growing need to understand antibody patterns and potential immunity. To better inform their decision-making efforts, Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force recently supported the development of SeroTracker, a web platform that synthesizes findings from serological (antibody) testing efforts worldwide.
Serological testing detects antibodies in the blood that signify evidence of having been infected by COVID-19. In contrast to nose and throat swabs, which test for acute infection, antibody tests provide a more complete picture of the population that has been infected. In England, for example, only 0.25% of the population was found to have acute infection, whereas nearly 7% of the population has evidence of infection using antibody tests. As countries begin to accelerate their investments in serological testing, the need for a tool to display the results of serological surveys that may vary widely between urban and rural areas has become increasingly evident. “Part of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force’s mandate is to make a comprehensive effort to keep track of all the studies that are rolling in, not just in Canada but around the world,” says Dr. Timothy Evans, the Executive Director of the Task Force and Scientific Lead for the SeroTracker team.