The federal government announced today that Health Canada has approved the first antigen rapid test for use by Canadians.
In its the announcement, the government said the approval is part of an agreement it has signed with Abbott Rapid Diagnostics to purchase up to 20.5 million Panbio COVID-19 Antigen rapid tests.
Health Canada will then deploy these tests to provinces and territories to support them in “ramping up” coronavirus testing.
“This new agreement with Abbott Rapid Diagnostics adds to our growing roster of rapid tests, which will support our healthcare professionals in targeting and responding to new outbreaks of the virus,” said Canada’s Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand.
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According to officials, Antigen testing is one of several emerging technologies that can be used to determine if a person is infected with coronavirus. The test works by detecting specific proteins associated with the virus.
“These antigens tests will have a role to play in avoiding large cluster outbreaks, when results are needed quickly to avoid further spread of the virus,” said Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu.
She noted that the tests are “quick and easy to use,” and can produce results in “about 20 minutes.”