Canadian researchers using blood to diagnose long COVID


A major discovery by a team of Canadian scientists could bring physicians across the country one step closer to officially diagnosing long COVID.

Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute found rapid changes in the blood vessels of patients presumed to have long COVID.

After observing these signs, or “biomarkers”, the team is now working on a first-of-its-kind blood test.

“It has a huge impact because the numbers of long COVID patients are increasing,” Dr. Douglas Fraser, Lawson scientist and critical care physician at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), told CBC News.

“After COVID-19, our theory is the blood vessels are quite injured and they’re trying to not only heal themselves, but they’re also reaching out and trying to find healthy tissue that’s remained after the illness.”

The findings, published in Molecular Medicine on Oct. 10, looked at 140 blood samples from participants at LHSC and St. Joseph’s Health Care in London, Ontario.

The discovery comes as new data from Statistics Canada revealed that approximately 1.4 million adults experienced long-term symptoms after a positive COVID-19 test or suspected infection.

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Will COVID-19 testing affect access to disability benefits?

Long-term disability rights during COVID-19

In Canada, most long-term disability (LTD) insurance policies will pay benefits if you can show that you have a disability that prevents you from working. This includes individuals in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. who have coverage.

What is critical for all claims, whether physical, emotional, psychological, cognitive, or a combination, is having your treating doctor or medical professional indicate that your condition is significant enough that you aren’t able to work.

If long COVID is affecting your ability to work, and you have medical documentation from your doctor stating your condition is significant enough that you are unable to work, then you are entitled to claim for and receive LTD benefits for as long as you remain disabled.

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WATCH: Disability lawyer Sivan Tumarkin explains the three things you should do if you are unable to work because of COVID-19 on an episode of the Disability Law Show.

Long-term disability denied? Don’t appeal

If your LTD claim is denied by your insurance provider, you will likely receive a letter inviting you to appeal the decision.

While it might seem like a good idea to do so, in almost all cases, the appeals process will be handled by the same insurer that denied your claim.

Insurance companies make money by not paying claims. They often use the appeals process (sometimes leading claimants to request multiple appeals) to run out the clock on your ability to file a claim against them to get the money you are owed.

If your LTD claim is denied, cut off, or comes under “investigation”, contact Samfiru Tumarkin LLP immediately.

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Denied LTD due to long COVID? Speak with a disability lawyer

If long COVID is affecting your ability to work, and your insurance provider has denied your LTD claim, contact the experienced disability law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Our lawyers in TorontoOttawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver regularly resolve life insurance, mortgage insurance, and LTD claim denials. We can help ensure that you get the compensation you are owed.

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