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Health Canada approves first antigen rapid test for COVID-19

Health Canada approves first antigen rapid test for COVID-19
/ Yulia Reznikov / Moment / Getty Images

This COVID-19 Rapid Test can produce results in less than 20 minutes

Earlier today, the federal government announced that Health Canada regulators have approved a fourth rapid COVID-19 test— and the first antigen device to receive the necessary approvals for use in the country.

According to officials, Antigens are unique molecules found on the outside of a particular virus that can be used to determine if a person is infected with the coronavirus. The test works by detecting specific proteins associated with the virus.

Abbott Rapid Diagnostics in Germany got the green light from Health Canada to sell its Panbio antigen rapid test in Canada, this morning.

The government said they have signed an agreement with Abbott to buy more than 20.5 million of these tests in the coming weeks and will be deployed to COVID-19 hotspots as cases continue to rise and the demand for testing spikes.

“These antigens tests will have a role to play in avoiding large cluster outbreaks when results are needed quickly to avoid further spread of the virus,” said Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

She noted that the tests are “quick and easy to use,” and can produce results in “about 20 minutes.”

According to Abbott’s website, the Panbio test is accurate with positive results 93 per cent of the time.


This approval comes a week after Health Canada authorized the use of another rapid test called the ID Now kit from Abbott Diagnostics in the United States.

The ID Now kit can provide results in less than 15 minutes on the spot where the patient is tested as it looks for the genetic material that causes COVID-19.

Canada is buying 7.9 million of the ID Now tests (which looks somewhat like a pregnancy test), and another 3,800 of the analyzer boxes that are needed to run the results.

According to the Canadian Press, “Health Canada will distribute both tests to provincial and territorial governments through an allocation agreement that is supposed to ensure equitable distribution that takes into account each jurisdiction’s need”.

About 2.5 million of the ID Now tests are expected by the end of the year, with the first arriving sometime next week.


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