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

A SAGA member (left) poses as Jessi Hanks (right) with Castle Restaurant puts up a safe space sticker to display on the restaurant’s front door. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
SAGA Wetaskiwin works with local businesses to display they are a safe space

The safe space stickers show that its a safe and inclusive space.

File photo
Gov’t of Alberta identifies estimated 300 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

Online COVID-19 dashboard unavailable as upgrades being completed

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

(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

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Kiara Robillard is seen in an undated handout photo. When the pandemic began, Robillard had to rush back home to Alberta from California, where she had been living for five years, after she was struck by a truck that broke her spine in two places. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kiara Robillard, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘It kind of clicks:’ Text4Hope program helps with depression, anxiety during pandemic

Participants receive one text message every morning for three months

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Most Read