A health-care worker gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

First antigen rapid test for COVID-19 gets Canadian approval

Health Canada will distribute both tests to provincial and territorial governments

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada is buying more than 20 million of the rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 approved by Health Canada today.

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

Canada has also signed a contract with Abbott that will see the company ship 20.5 million of the ruler-sized test devices to Canada.

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

That test, the ID Now kit, can provide results in as little as 13 minutes on the spot where the patient is tested. The ID Now test looks for the genetic material of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The Panbio test uses antigen technology, and can produce results in less than 15 minutes. Antigens are unique molecules found on the outside of a particular virus.

Canada is buying 7.9 million of the ID Now tests, and another 3,800 of the analyzer boxes that are needed to run the results. The Panbio test does not need an analyzer box, and looks somewhat like a pregnancy test, with a little window on a stick that shows positive or negative results.

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.

Health Canada will not say how many of each test will be sent to which province or when. About 2.5 million of the ID Now tests are expected by the end of the year, with the first delivery to take place next week.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said in the House of Commons Monday the government promised rapid tests six months ago, hitting a recurring theme in Tory questions to the Liberals.

“Their slow response is impacting millions of Canadians,” he said. “In Quebec, it is the long lineups. In Ontario, it is the labs that are stretched to the limit. In Manitoba, it is confusion over buying rapid tests. When is the prime minister going to take the help of Canadians seriously and roll out a real plan for rapid testing?”

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said she too wants to see more rapid tests in this country.

“I share the member opposite’s view that rapid testing is absolutely essential to our health,” she said. “It is absolutely essential to our economic recovery.”

The ID Now tests came under some scrutiny in the United States over the weekend when it was revealed they were used at the White House to test staff almost daily.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, the senior medical adviser to the deputy minister of health, said in an interview that in Canada the tests are approved only for use on patients who are showing symptoms of COVID-19, and only within the first seven days after symptoms appear.

She said Health Canada is confident in the studies that show ID Now tests accurately diagnose a positive case 92.9 per cent of the time, and that negative results are accurate more than 98 per cent of the time.

Abbott’s website says the Panbio test is accurate with positive results 93 per cent of the time, and negative results 99 per cent of the time.

Panbio is the fourth test approved by Health Canada that can be completed without sending specimens to a laboratory and is the second that can provide results in 15 minutes or less.

The other two tests are Hyris’s BCube, which takes about 90 minutes to deliver results, and Cepheid’s GeneExpert, which provides results in under an hour.

Mia Rabson, 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

Kastor Hansen gets the right timing on the double-Dutch ropes, cheered on by principal, Bruce Becker. For the past 10 years, Becker has been Silver Creek Elementary’s principal, he is now moving on to become principal at Coquihalla Elementary School. (Barry Stewart/Hope Standard)
Bruce Becker to be Coquihalla Elementary’s new principal, leaving role at Silver Creek open

Longtime SD78 educators Monique Gratrix and Peter Flynn are retiring

A woman holds a packet of contraceptive pills. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Chilliwack women’s organization among those lobbying for free contraception

Ann Davis Society says while it’s a women’s issue, all of society would benefit from program

Peggy Ardnt (left) and Ed Ardnt (right) present the symbolic first poppy to Harrison Hot Springs Mayor Leo Facio. This presentation is traditional across Canada to share awareness of the poppy campaign leading up to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11. (Adam Louis/Observer)
Agassiz Legion presents first symbolic poppies

Local dignitaries accepted the poppies, continuing a long-standing tradition

Google Maps screenshot taken at 7:56 a.m., Oct. 29.
TRAFFIC: Westbound Highway 1 crash between Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Left lane is blocked, traffic backed up to No. 3 Road

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Most Read