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Health Canada approves Ottawa company’s rapid COVID-19 test kits

Kyle Mack | posted Monday, Apr 13th, 2020

A rapid, portable testing device for COVID-19 developed by an Ottawa company has received approval from Health Canada.

The device, which was developed by Spartan Bioscience, is a handheld DNA analyzer that allows hospitals and other institutions to independently test patients and receive results without having to send the samples away to a provincial or national lab.

The device comes with its own test cartridges and proprietary swabs, which are manufactured in Ottawa.

The test can be administered by “non-laboratory personnel” in places such as airports, border crossings, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, clinics, and remote communities.

In a release, the company said 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,” Paul Lem, CEO of Spartan Bioscience, said in a release.

“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.”

A worldwide shortage of medical swabs has slowed down the traditional testing, which is especially being felt in Ontario. Until recently, the province has had the lowest testing rate for COVID-19 in Canada.

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