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Rapid antigen test for COVID-19 developed in Nova Scotia lab

Sona Nanotech in Dartmouth is awaiting Health Canada approval for its 15-minute test, which could ease pressure on Canada’s health care system.
October 01, 2020
David Regan gets tested for COVID-19 at the Sona Nanotech lab. Screenshot: CTV News Atlantic.

In the wake of news that Health Canada has approved the rapid ID Now test made by American company Abbott Diagnostics, a small lab in Nova Scotia is waiting to receive approval for its antigen test, which functions similarly to a pregnancy test. It uses a nasal swab like traditional tests, but looks for an antigen – a protein on the surface of the virus – rather than the genetic material that makes up the virus. Sona Nanotech says its test, like the ID Now, also provides results in about 15 minutes.

No antigen tests have yet been approved for use in Canada, but four are being used in the United States – all developed by large pharmaceutical companies. David Regan, CEO of Sona Nanotech, is pleased that their tiny lab in Dartmouth has been able to build on research begun at St. Francis Xavier University to develop a test that’s sensitive enough to detect the virus even in pre-symptomatic patients. So far, Sona Nanotech is the only company in Canada to develop this type of technology.

The company also has an at-home saliva test in early development but hopes to receive approval for the antigen test soon, so that pressure on Canada’s health care system can be relieved as testing speeds up and patients can receive their results more quickly.

Source: CTV News

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