An Ottawa company has confirmed that they’ve received official approval from Health Canada, for a portable and rapid COVID-19 test. The new kit aims to deliver results in just one hour and doesn’t require a laboratory setting. This means the test could be used at airports, border crossings, pharmacies, doctors' offices, and so much more.

A Canadian bioscience firm based in Ottawa says it received federal approval for the production and distribution of a brand new and super-fast COVID-19 test.

According to the company, the device can deliver test results in under an hour — that's much faster than current laboratory testing, which can take anywhere from days to over a week.

Developed by Spartan Bioscience, the device is a handheld DNA analyzer that allows individuals to independently test patients without having to send samples away to a provincial or national lab.

The test can be administered by “non-laboratory personnel,” which means it could be used in non-medical settings. This includes airports, border crossings, local pharmacies and remote communities. 

“There is an urgent unmet need for rapid COVID-19 testing, and as a proudly Canadian company, we are excited that our technology will be an important part of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada,” Paul Lem, M.D. and CEO, explained in a statement.

Currently, COVID-19 testing is carried out by using a long swab, inserted into the nose. Samples are then sent to provincial or national laboratories, where they're processed in a machine.

A worldwide shortage of medical swabs, combined with limited testing chemicals and lab space has slowed down traditional methods, and has led to backlogs.

In provinces like Ontario, the shortage of supplies has forced public health officials to limit who gets tested, leading to extremely low testing rates in comparison with other regions in Canada.

To combat this, Premier Doug Ford committed to 14,000 COVID-19 tests per day by the end of April.

“We are ready to start shipping our portable COVID-19 test to the federal and provincial governments, and to make them widely available to Canadians,” Lem stated.

According to CTV News, Spartan Bioscience estimates it can produce 1.5 million of these new tests every month.

In the statement, Spartan Bioscience confirmed that the tests can now be shipped to “Spartan’s federal and provincial government partners starting immediately.”

“We are grateful to the Government of Canada for working closely with us to expedite the review and approval process,” the CEO added.

*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.

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