Health Canada has approved the first rapid COVID-19 test made by Canada and it comes from a relatively new company in Guelph, Ontario.
Precision Biomonitoring says its Triplelock test strips have been developed and manufactured in southern Ontario and received approval from the federal regulator this week.
Until now, all rapid testing systems in Canada have been imported from other countries.
“Our test is an all-Canadian test,” Precision Biomonitoring CEO Dr. Mario Thomas said in a phone interview. “It’s an immense sense of pride to make a contribution.”
The company says its system can provide accurate results on-site for nine nasal swab samples in just 60 minutes. This is ideal for remote work sites such as mining and Indigenous communities.
According to Precision Biomonitoring CEO Dr. Mario Thomas, some communities are forced to send cotton swab samples to cities, and in some cases, it can take up to 10 days for results. Dr. Thomas hopes his testing kit would help these communities get quicker test results eliminating weeks of delays.
The Precision Biomonitoring Company was founded in 2016 by a team of scientists from the Institute of Biodiversity at the University of Guelph in Ontario.
They have developed equipment for detecting other pathogens, focusing on food and water safety. All that changed in February when they turned their focus to testing COVID-19 with the same equipment.
“Our experience, our four years of experience, in food safety and environmental monitoring gave us the springboard to switch to COVID-19 literally overnight,” Dr. Thomas said.
Health Canada only started approving rapid COVID-19 tests in early October, but a number of tests have been revealed since then.
These types of rapid tests will “help a lot,” said Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.
He said it will help resolve some of the backlog in the labs and it will allow the experiment to take place in more places, making it more accessible for Canadians.
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