A sign regarding deliveries is seen on a glass door at the offices of Spartan Bioscience, makers of a made-in-Canada, rapid testing device for COVID-19, in Ottawa, on Monday, May 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

A sign regarding deliveries is seen on a glass door at the offices of Spartan Bioscience, makers of a made-in-Canada, rapid testing device for COVID-19, in Ottawa, on Monday, May 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Health Canada approves Spartan Bioscience’s previously recalled rapid COVID-19 test

The new version uses ‘any nasopharyngeal swab’ rather than one of the company’s own design

The federal government has approved an Ottawa company’s made-in-Canada rapid COVID-19 test, Health Canada confirmed Saturday as the nation’s top doctor warned the virus’s impact on the health-care system showed no signs of abating.

The test developed by Spartan Bioscience is performed by a doctor and provides on-site results within an hour, a spokeswoman for the federal agency said.

Spartan bills the test as the first “truly mobile, rapid PCR test for COVID-19 for the Canadian market.”

“The Spartan system will be able to provide quality results to remote communities, industries and settings with limited lab access, helping relieve the burden on overwhelmed healthcare facilities,” the company said in a news release Saturday.

The company originally unveiled a rapid test for COVID-19 last spring but had to voluntarily recall it and perform additional studies after Health Canada expressed some reservations.

At the time, Spartan said Health Canada was concerned about the “efficacy of the proprietary swab” for the testing product.

READ MORE: Rapid test for COVID-19 recalled after Health Canada expresses concerns

The new version uses “any nasopharyngeal swab” rather than one of the company’s own design, Health Canada said, and meets the agency’s requirements for both safety and effectiveness.

The Spartan COVID-19 System was developed through clinical evaluation completed in Canada and the U.S., with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute as one of the testing locations.

The company said it has already started production on the rapid tests.

The news comes as Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, warned that COVID-19 continues to strain the health-care system even as daily case counts decline in several long-standing hot spots.

“As severe outcomes lag behind increased disease activity, we can expect to see ongoing heavy impacts on our healthcare system and health workforce for weeks to come,” she said in a written statement.

Surging new infection rates continued to show signs of easing in multiple provinces, though one jurisdiction was poised to impose new restrictions in a bid to stem the ongoing spread.

Public health officials in New Brunswick reported 17 new cases across the province, 10 of which were in the Edmundston region, which was set to go into a lockdown first thing Sunday morning.

Starting at midnight, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the area, which borders northern Maine and Quebec’s Bas-St-Laurent region.

The health order forces the closure of all non-essential businesses as well as schools and public spaces, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. All indoor and outdoor gatherings among people of different households are prohibited.

Saskatchewan, meanwhile, logged 274 new cases of the virus and three new deaths, while Manitoba counted three more deaths and 216 new diagnoses.

Alberta logged 573 new cases and 13 virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, while both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new infections on Saturday.

Both Quebec and Ontario reported fewer cases Saturday — 1,685 and 2,359 respectively.

But officials in Ontario expressed concern about a highly contagious U.K. variant of the virus that was detected at a long-term care facility north of Toronto.

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed the variant was behind the outbreak at Roberta Place Retirement Lodge in Barrie, Ont., where 32 residents have died of COVID-19 and dozens of others have tested positive.

“Stringent and consistent efforts are needed to sustain a downward trend in case counts and strongly suppress COVID-19 activity across Canada,” Tam said. “This will not only prevent more tragic outcomes, but will help to ensure that new virus variants of concern do not have the opportunity to spread.”

Fears of variants that can circulate quickly come as the federal government considers a mandatory quarantine in hotels for travellers returning to Canada.

READ MORE: Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

Victoria Ahearn and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PQB News reader Randy Hall set up a camera at the beach in Parksville, in the same spot every day in February, to capture the changing days and weather. (Randy Hall photo)
WATCH: Scenes from 28 days in February in Parksville

PQB News reader Randy Hall set up camera in same location each day

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

(PQB News file photo)
Some frustrated Parksville Qualicum Beach residents now tossing recyclables in garbage

Option is driving to collection centres in Nanaimo and Courtenay

Mike Garland, fundraising member of the Oceanside Community Track committee, visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Mike Garland’s group wants an updated running track in Parksville

Podcast: Talk includes fundraising, plans to upgrade aging facility and more

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Hannah Ankenmann, who works with k’awat’si Economic Development Corporation, winces as she received her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine administered by a Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Family Health nurse. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Vancouver Island’s small remote towns to get community-wide vaccine clinics

Island Health to take a wholesale approach to immunization, rather than age-based appointments

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

Most Read