Canadian rapid COVID-19 testing device has been approved by Health Canada, manufacturer says Spencer Gallichan-Lowe

A Canadian rapid COVID-19 testing machine has been approved for use by the federal government, the device’s manufacturer said Saturday.

The device, developed by Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience, said in a news release Health Canada’s approval paves the way for the company to start deploying the testing machine across the country.

“We want to thank our government and commercial partners for their patience, and trusting us to create a rapid RT-PCR testing option as part of Canada’s public health response,” said Roger Eacock, CEO of Spartan. “Readily deployed, rapid testing systems for COVID-19 are still needed across Canada, and will continue to be needed throughout 2021, even as vaccines begin to roll out.”

A spokesperson for Health Canada says the new device meets the agency’s requirements for both safety and effectiveness.

Spartan says the machine is the first mobile, rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the Canadian market.

PCR testing is considered the gold standard for detecting COVID-19, according to a federal government document.

The small, cube-shaped machine takes nasal swabs and analyzes them inside the device. Results are made available in under an hour.

The company said this “will provide quality results to remote communities, industries and settings with limited lab access, helping relieve the burden on overwhelmed healthcare facilities.”

The Spartan machine was previously made available in April 2020, but was voluntarily pulled from the market after Health Canada raised concerns about the “efficacy of the proprietary swab” for the testing product.

At the time, Spartan said Health Canada had no concerns about the accuracy and analytical performance of the product.

Now armed with Health Canada’s approval, the company says their product will create over 250 Canadian jobs.

“Production of Spartan’s rapid tests has already begun, to ensure prompt delivery to partners across the country,” Eacock said. “Shipments will begin immediately to federal and provincial government partners, as well as Spartan’s commercial customers.”

With files from the Canadian Press

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