Health Canada approves 1st rapid PCR coronavirus test, Spartan Bioscience says

Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience says their rapid on-site PCR coronavirus test has been approved for use by Health Canada.

In a press release issued Saturday, the company said this test is the first “truly mobile, rapid PCR test for COVID-19 for the Canadian market.”

A PCR test is designed to detect minute amounts of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, usually through a swab up the nose or in the mouth.

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“The Spartan COVID-19 System offers the speed and ease of use of a rapid test, while using the technology of lab-based COVID-testing solutions,” the statement reads.

The company said the test will be able to provide “quality results” to remote communities, industries and settings with limited access to laboratories, which will “help relieve the burden on overwhelmed healthcare facilities.”

In an interview with Global News, Spartan Bioscience Co-Founder Jamie Spiegelman, said what the company has created is “basically a decentralized lab in a box that is the size of a coffee cup.”

“It’s really portable [and] it’s easy to use,” Spiegelman said, adding that all it takes is a nose swab that requires “no expertise.”

According to Spiegelman, test results are ready within an hour.

“The utility of this is so broad, it could be used in hospitals, it could be used in offices and corporations to open up the work environment,” he said. “It could be used anywhere, that’s how easy it is to use and I think it really will supplement central lab testing and open up society.”

Health Canada had previously granted the device regulatory approval, however it restricted its use after issues with the swab were detected.

Those issues, Spiegleman said, have been rectified.

According to Spiegelman, the company does have “about a million or two million tests backordered by the federal government.”

“And we’re going to deliver them.”

Click to play video 'COVID-19 update' 4:12 COVID-19 update

COVID-19 update

He said the company has built up a stock of the tests, and are preparing to ship them out next week.

Spiegelman said Spartan is working to ensure the Canadian governments get their tests first.

“Our goal is to make sure we have filled all the orders in Canada before we go to the U.S. and Europe,” he said

According to the release, the company is now “establishing a new domestic supply chain for rapid diagnostics,” adding that it will create more than 250 jobs in Canada.

Global News has reached out to Health Canada for comment.

More to come…

–With files from Global News’ Abigail Bimman and The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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