Nova Scotia company awaits Health Canada approval for rapid antigen test for COVID-19


HALIFAX – Dartmouth’s Sona Nanotech lab is making history by developing a rapid antigen test for COVID-19. “There was a moment of great pride for the whole team, as Canadians, when our assessment results came back from both third-party labs and field trials and it showed how our test went well, ”said CEO David Regan.

Here is a simple description of how the test works: After administering a pharyngeal nasal swab, the swab is placed in a tube of solution for a few moments. Then a sample of it is placed on a lateral flow test, such as a pregnancy test. Results appear within 15 minutes.

“The Sona Nanotech test is like a pregnancy test. It’s a lateral flow test and these pregnancy tests detect the existence of a hormone, our test detects the presence of the coronavirus, ”Regan said.

Sona Nanotech is the only company in Canada to offer this technology.

“The four antigen tests that have been approved in the United States so far are from billion-dollar companies, multi-billion dollar companies, with vast resources,” said Regan.

“This test at Sona Nanotech was developed in the lab, here in the Dartmouth Bays, based on research that was initiated at St. Francis Xavier University in the chemistry lab and completed over the past nine last months.

Regan says the test could help sort people out faster and free up the healthcare system.

“A rapid test for COVID would be a great idea,” said Dr. Todd Hatchette, chief microbiology officer at the Nova Scotia Health Authority. “Having the ability to deliver results in 15 or 20 minutes can be helpful in a lot of different situations. But again, it comes back to the main concern, are these tests accurate and are they sensitive to detect infection. ”

Regan says yes.

“This is a screening device that can be widely used to detect not only the virus from people who have symptoms, but especially before people have symptoms,” he said. “At this point, positive results can be sent to labs for confirmation, but this will result in much shorter turnaround times.

Right now, it’s a waiting game for the lab as it seeks approval from Health Canada.

In the meantime, the company is also working on a home saliva test, which is being considered in the early stages of development.


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