Health Canada has given the green light to the Spartan Bioscience portable rapid COVID-19 test.

Approval by Health Canada means that tests can now be shipped to Spartan’s federal and provincial government partners, including Alberta, starting immediately.

Spartan’s test consists of a portable DNA analyzer called the Spartan Cube, which is the size of a coffee cup. The Cube performs the test with Spartan’s COVID-19 test cartridges and proprietary swabs, manufactured in Ottawa.

The automated test can be operated by non-laboratory personnel in settings such as airports, border crossings, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, clinics, and remote communities.

Its ability to complete quick and accurate tests in rural and remote areas is what attracted the Alberta Health Services (AHS) to enter into a $9.5 million with the Canadian biotechnology company.

AHS will receive 250 handheld devices, along with 100,000 testing kits, to be distributed to healthcare facilities outside of Calgary and Edmonton. 

Now that Health Canada has given approval, AHS will validate test protocols and accuracy before the new technology is deployed.

"There is an urgent unmet need for rapid COVID-19 testing, and as a proudly Canadian company, we are excited that our technology will be an important part of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada,” says Spartan Bioscience CEO Paul Lem. 

Spartan’s test was developed with funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).