The Government of Canada announced today that it plans to buy up to to 7.9 million ID NOW rapid point-of-care COVID-19 tests, pending Health Canada’s authorization.
If authorized, these tests would be deployed to provinces and territories to support them in ramping up surge capacity for COVID-19 testing.
The announcement was made by Federal Public Services Minister, Anita Anand.
“With testing technology rapidly evolving, the Government of Canada is moving quickly to ensure that Canadians have access to the most effective and efficient testing solutions possible,” said Anand. “If authorized, these rapid tests will increase our capacity to detect and respond to new outbreaks, keeping Canadians healthy and safe.”
The purchasing plan comes after the Government of Canada signed an agreement with Abbott Rapid Diagnostics ULC.
Under the agreement with Abbott, the federal government is also purchasing up to 3,800 analyzers, which are the devices that perform the test and deliver the rapid results.
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According to federal officials, the Abbott ID NOW system is a rapid molecular point-of-care test for coronavirus. The technology can detect the virus directly from a nasal swab, returning results between 5 and 13 minutes. They also note that the system “is small and lightweight and can easily be transported” to remote locations and operated with “minimal” training.
“As cases of COVID-19 are rising, following public health measures is important to flatten the curve,” said Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu. “Detecting cases of COVID-19 quickly is also critical to slow the spread of the virus.”
Today’s announcement she added, “will help increase Canada’s capacity, should the tests be authorized by Health Canada.”