Ontario increasing production of COVID-19 testing supplies

Oct 13 2020, 1:47 pm

The Government of Ontario announced that they will be investing more than $1.4 million in a local company in an effort to expand production of COVID-19 testing supplies.

Through the new partnership, Mississauga-based Microbix Biosystems will make viral transport media (VTM), the solution that preserves and protects a patient’s test during transport to a lab. The VTM will be used in COVID-19 test kits, supporting Ontario’s urgent need for testing supplies. The locally produced VTM will also reduce pressure on the province’s labs, as they will no longer have to search for international sources while processing thousands of COVID-19 tests each day.

“Ontario’s world-class entrepreneurs and innovators have stepped up to mobilize our manufacturing and innovation might to produce critical medical supplies throughout the fight against COVID-19,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, in a release announcing the partnership.

The investment is part of the Ontario Together Fund, a $50 million initiative by the Ontario government that aims to help businesses create PPE and develop technology-driven solutions and services that will help the province reopen safely.

Microbix Biosystems’ expertise will continue to position Ontario as a world leader in the quality control and accuracy of COVID-19 tests, said the release. The partnership will also create much-needed jobs for Ontarians.

The province’s support will help the life-sciences company manufacture up to 60,000 units per day, as well as up to 10,000 units of quality assessment products per day (QAPs), according to the announcement.

QAPs mimic samples from living patients, like a positive COVID-19 test result, for example, while not posing any threat of infection. In addition to helping ensure the accuracy of COVID-19 testing, they have a variety of uses, including training new lab technicians, helping conduct lab proficiency, and qualifying new tests for use.

Microbix Biosystems is a leading manufacturer of viral and bacterial antigens and reagents for the global diagnostics industry, according to their website.

“By supporting companies like Microbix, we are supporting made-in-Ontario solutions and reducing our dependence on foreign supply chains, strengthening our domestic capacity, and ensuring we are better prepared for the future,” said Minister Fedeli.

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