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Quebec buying into COVID-19 testing cube that produces results in a half hour
Published Wednesday, April 8, 2020 7:46PM EDT Last Updated Monday, April 13, 2020 9:29AM EDT
MONTREAL -- Quebec is investing in a new way to test for COVID-19. It’s a portable kit made in Ontario where results take just a half hour.
Spartan Biosciences is lauding its testing cube as a groundbreaking tool that looks for all kinds of illnesses.
“It’s going to revolutionize all diagnostics,” a promo video from the company says.
The cube will now be used to test for COVID-19.
“The goal is to take this technology that usually resides in these huge laboratories, with armies of technicians and to provide that same technology with a very small footprint so it’s completely portable,” said Nick Noreau of Spartan.
So far, Quebec has tested 100,000 people for the novel coronavirus at various sites including drive-thru testing sites. Results at these screening sites are only available days after being swabbed.
The Spartan unit is 10 centimetres cubed and weighs less than a kilogram.
The Quebec government has ordered 100 of the units with 200,000 test cartridges.
“These are kits you can bring on premises and in long-term facilities like in hospitals and you train the staff to test the patients,” said Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann. “The benefits of that is great, so we hope to get them as soon as possible.”
Noreau explained that the cube works similar to a single-serving coffee machine. You put the cartridge into the machine and wait just minutes for results.
“The device itself is the Keurig machine and the different pods are whatever that test may be,” he said.
Alberta is spending $9.5 million on 100,000 cube tests, and Ontario is getting 900,000. The cubes are manufactured in Kanata, Ontario.
Spartan Bioscience is expecting a Health Canada approval on Friday.
“Until there’s a vaccine, and until there’s other methods that allow us to contain this, the only solution currently is rapid immediate testing every single day,” said Noreau.
Testing cubes could be available as early as two weeks from now.