/ATP CAT Frequently Asked Questions
ATP CAT Frequently Asked Questions 2020-10-19T08:28:23-06:00
What is ATP CAT? 2021-09-09T10:47:12-06:00

ATP’s COVID-19 Antibody Testing study is one of four studies that tests for COVID-19 antibodies within adult Albertans.

Why is ATP conducting an antibody study? 2021-09-09T10:47:40-06:00

Alberta Health has tasked us with conducting a provincial COVID-19 antibody testing study that tests for COVID-19 antibodies within adult Albertans. The study, also known as serology testing, determines if you’ve had a past infection of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Will I receive the results of my antibody test? 2021-09-09T11:08:51-06:00

Yes, you will receive  an email notifying you when your results are ready to be viewed on our participant portal. More information will be provided with your tests results.  It may take up to one month for you to receive your results.

Please note: An antibody test cannot tell whether you’re currently infected with the COVID-19 virus because it can take up to three weeks after an infection for your body to create antibodies.

How does the testing work? 2021-09-09T11:11:19-06:00
  • Our tests are developed to be specific for certain types of antibodies so they know what to look for.
  • Your body produces many types of antibodies when you’ve been infected with the COVID-19 virus.
  • To date, we’ve only been testing for the main type of antibody produced when you are infected by the COVID-19 virus.
What does the new test do? 2021-09-09T11:12:28-06:00
  • Scientists have created vaccines that result in another main type of antibody.
  • The new test will now deliver results for both types of antibodies – those that reflect a COVID-19 infection and those that reflect the vaccine.
  • All types of antibodies will provide protection against COVID-19.
Why didn’t you test for both types of antibodies from the beginning? 2021-09-09T11:13:10-06:00
  • When we first began this study, there were no vaccines so the study was geared to better understanding antibodies produced by infection with the COVID-19 virus.
  • Since the vaccine targets one type of antibody, we now need to include it in our study moving forward.
Why are you starting to use this new test now? 2021-09-09T11:13:48-06:00
  • Now that more than half of the population of Alberta is fully vaccinated, we can now start testing for the antibodies produced by the vaccine, and begin to understand better how levels may change over time.
What will I test positive/negative for if I have been vaccinated? 2021-09-09T11:14:14-06:00
  • If you haven’t had COVID-19, but are vaccinated, it is likely you will only test positive for antibodies produced by the vaccine.
  • If you have previously been infected by COVID-19 and are vaccinated, it is likely you will likely test positive for both types of antibodies.
Can I still test negative for antibodies? 2021-09-09T11:14:43-06:00
  • Yes, we are still unsure how long antibodies can live in your system and how long after an infection or vaccine it takes for your body to start producing antibodies.
  • This study will help us better understand this.
Will the tests tell me whether I’ve had one of the variants of COVID-19? 2021-09-09T11:15:27-06:00

No, the test does not identify what variant of the infection you’ve had.

If I test positive for both antibodies, do I need to get my first/second dose of the vaccine? 2021-09-09T11:15:54-06:00
  • We recommend you receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Even if you test positive for antibodies, we do not know how long they live in your body or how protected you are against the virus.
What does this change for me? 2021-09-09T11:16:28-06:00
  • You now will receive two test results for both types of antibodies.
  • Please be advised due to this change there could be a delay in receiving your results if you came in for testing for July 20, 2021 onwards.
I got the vaccine – why is my serology test negative? 2021-09-09T11:09:12-06:00

The human body produces different types of antibodies, including antibodies in response to a vaccine. The screening test we used at the beginning of this study only detected antibodies produced in response to a past COVID-19 infection, not those produced in response to a vaccine. We are now using a second test that will detect antibodies produced by the vaccine along with those from a natural infection.

If I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, do I have to withdraw from the COVID-19 antibody testing (CAT) study? 2021-09-09T10:48:25-06:00

No, you do not have to withdraw if you receive a vaccine, and we hope you choose to continue with the study – your data and samples are very valuable!  If you do receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please ensure to answer the vaccine questions on your Pre-Appointment survey.  As the circumstances of COVID-19 in Alberta evolves, we are updating the characteristics of our study as required.

Why do I need to come in 4 times in the year? 2021-09-09T10:48:39-06:00

The study results will be most accurate if the same participants provide blood samples over a period of time, so we encourage you to complete all four appointments. Coming in for a blood draw four times over a year will allow us to spot and track the length of time COVID-19 antibodies may appear in your blood.

I tested positive for COVID-19 with the nasal swab test. Should I still undergo serology testing if I already know I had COVID-19? 2021-09-09T10:48:53-06:00

Yes. The purpose of this study is not to check for a current COVID-19 infection, but instead to determine the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in blood, and to track the length of time these COVID-19 antibodies remain in your blood.

What does it mean if I test positive for antibodies? What should I do next? 2021-09-09T10:49:06-06:00

It is important to know that results for the antibody test do not diagnose a current infection with the COVID-19 virus. Only a swab test can confirm whether you have an active COVID-19 infection, and you are encouraged to continue following public health guidelines to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection. If you are showing any symptoms, please call HealthLink by dialling 811.

I thought your study was focused on cancer. Why are you doing this serology study? 2021-09-09T10:49:20-06:00

One of the blood samples we receive from this study will also be banked in our ATP biobank for future research into cancer and chronic disease. Just like we ask for updates on your health conditions and lifestyle behaviours over time on our surveys, collecting blood samples taken over various time points allow researchers to look for biological changes and better understand changes over time and individual risk.

I’m a participant but I’m not sure if my information is up to date. What should I do? 2021-09-09T10:49:37-06:00

Get in touch with us! You can contact us by calling toll-free 1-877-919-9292. If you’re outside Canada, please call collect to 1-403-955-4617, or send us an email at tomorrow@albertahealthservices.ca. We will be happy to check your file to make sure we have everything we need.

If I move, can I still participate in the study? 2021-09-09T10:49:51-06:00

In order to participate in our antibody testing study, you need to currently reside in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge or Red Deer, or the surrounding areas, and be invited by email. If you have moved outside these areas, you are not eligible to participate at this time. However, we want to keep you in Alberta’s Tomorrow Project even if you move to another province, or to another country.

To change your name, address or phone numbers please contact us by calling toll-free within Canada at 1-877-919-9292. From outside Canada, please call collect 1-403-955-4617, or email us at tomorrow@albertahealthservices.ca.

When will you contact me for more information? 2021-09-09T10:50:29-06:00

If your file is up to date, we will not need to contact you until our next survey. If you are unsure whether your file is up to date, please get in touch with us, via email, mail, or phone. We will contact you when our next questionnaire is ready, in the meantime, we are busy preparing our vast database for analysis by researchers inside Alberta’s Tomorrow Project, and by those associated with research and academic institutions across Alberta and beyond.