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New Canadian-made portable, rapid COVID-19 tests not coming to B.C.

Signs on Vancouver's seawall ask pedestrians and cyclists to stay two metres apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Signs on Vancouver's seawall ask pedestrians and cyclists to stay two metres apart during the COVID-19 pandemic. Simon Little / Global News

A new Canadian-made portable, rapid test for COVID-19 won’t be making its way to British Columbia any time soon.

Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience said Sunday that Health Canada had approved its Spartan Cube test system, which uses a coffee-cup-sized portable DNA analyzer and can deliver results in about an hour.

READ MORE: Canadian company says Health Canada has approved its rapid COVID-19 test

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday that all available units of the new system were already spoken for.

However, she said B.C. is already doing tests through the B.C. Centre for Disease Control that use the same nucleic acid test process.

B.C. public safety minister conducts field check of measures to monitor returning travellers at YVR
B.C. public safety minister conducts field check of measures to monitor returning travellers at YVR

She said B.C. is also working on rolling out its own faster test units to remote areas in the coming week.

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“We have also been focusing on a more rapid test that we can deploy to some of the areas where we have challenges transporting specimens back and forth, it’s a very similar type of thing to the Spartan machine,” she said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: How rapid testing kits could lead to more targeted screenings

“Our strategy right now is to deploy those to areas of the province where we are having challenges with turnaround time with testing.”

Henry said the province will watch to see where the units could be useful in B.C. when they are available.