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

Okanagan Falls fire department put on an ice rescue course at Yellow Lake this weekend.
South Okanagan firefighters submerged in the icy waters of Yellow Lake

The local firefighters were taking ice rescue training at the Penticton lake this weekend

The Penticton Vees, the BCHL and Shaw have teamed up to support the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre through Shaw’s “Brighter Communities powered by Shaw” fundraiser (Mark Brett/ Western News file)
Vees, BCHL team up with Shaw to support Penticton kids

Fundraiser aims to build the community spirit of hockey while supporting local charities

(Contributed)
March 1 snow measurement at Summerland Reservoir above normal

Isintok Lake snow measurements near historical average

Cannery Brewing co-owner Ian Dyck (right) presenting a cheque to Adolf Steffen (left) and Jim Cooper (centre), Director and President of the SS Sicamous Restoration Society. (Contributed)
Cannery’s Lakeboat Lager connected to Penticton’s famed S.S. Sicamous sternwheeler

The Sicamous is a major tourist attraction that has remained closed during the pandemic

Vaseux Lake. Grant Harder photo.
Letter: Why can’t we have motorized boats on Vaseux Lake?

Avid fisherman with a disability would love to use his pontoon

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Esa Carriere was stabbed to death during Canada Day celebrations in downtown Kelowna in 2018. (Contributed)
Emotional testimony from accused Kelowna Canada Day killer’s friend in manslaughter trial

‘I confronted him, and he admitted to me that he stabbed someone,’ says accused killer’s former housemate

Lakeboat Lager is a tribute to Penticton’s iconic S.S. Sicamous located on Okanagan Lake.
Cannery’s Lakeboat Lager connected to Penticton’s famed S.S. Sicamous sternwheeler

The Sicamous is a major tourist attraction that has remained closed during the pandemic

Photo courtesy RCMP
Salmon Arm RCMP officers seized a handgun and a quantity of cocaine during a search of a vehicle on Thursday, Feb. 11. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP seize handgun, cocaine in vehicle search

Two Surrey residents released from custody, investigation continues

Lumby’s WTF What the Fry was broken into Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, and the till was stolen around 9:30 a.m. (Facebook)
Cash box stolen from Lumby poutinerie

WTF broken into in broad daylight seven weeks after grand opening

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has received a grant for the completion of housing reports for Electoral Areas B, D, and F. (Gerry Leibel photo)
Grant allows Columbia Shuswap Regional District to finish housing reports

Study toidentify issues such as affordability and accessibility specific to Areas B, D and F

KISU swim club member Justin Fotherby is one of six swimmers from across Canada to be recognized for the 2020-2021 Victor Davis Award. (Submitted photo)
Penticton swimmer wins major awards, closing in on Olympic dream

Justin Fotherby, a KISU club member, has just won the prestigious Victor Davis Award

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Most Read