VIDEO: Got questions about the new COVID-19 rapid test? Watch this.
Last week, we wrote about a new rapid test for COVID-19, developed by Ottawa’s Spartan Bioscience. Yesterday, ICU Physician Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng released the newest episode of his podcast Solving Healthcare, in which he interviews Spartan Bioscience CEO Dr. Paul Lem about the new test. We’ve also covered Dr. Kyeremanteng before: he helped raise over $30,000 to support health care workers working long hours with nutritious meals.
Early reporting on the release of the new rapid test spurred a multitude of questions from Canadians: How does the test work? Is it Health Canada approved? When and where will it be used? Dr. Kyeremanteng asks these questions and more in the interview, which can be watched in full below.
For starters, the test works by analyzing genetic material collected from a patient swab for presence of the coronavirus. This analysis is done inside Spartan’s handheld unit, eliminating the need for swabs to be sent off to labs, which is responsible for much of the delay with existing test mechanisms. Currently, that time frame is about an hour, but Dr. Lem says that with some software upgrades, they could get it down to as little as 30 minutes.
Despite global public and private demand for the tests, Spartan is focusing on domestic supply first. They have already announced deals with the Federal, Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta governments, now that Health Canada has approved the test, and are in discussions with all other provinces about supply contracts. Phase two will be to open supply up to Canadian corporations. Once the domestic need is met, they will look at making the test available globally.
Watch the full episode here: