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First antigen rapid test for COVID-19 gets Canadian approval

Last Updated Oct 6, 2020 at 12:01 pm EDT

Madrid Emergency Service (SUMMA) health workers conduct rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 in the southern neighbourhood of Vallecas in Madrid on Sept. 29, 2020. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Bernat Armangue
Summary

The Panbio test from Abbott Rapid Diagnostics is the first antigen test to be approved in Canada


It can deliver results in 15 minutes, using a nasopharyngeal swab and a device that resembles a pregnancy-test stick


Antigen tests look for specific markers on the outside of a virus instead of its genetic material


Health Canada has given the green light to another rapid test for the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Panbio test from Abbott Rapid Diagnostics is the first antigen test to be approved in Canada.

Antigen tests look for specific markers on the outside of a virus, while all the tests previously approved in Canada look for the novel coronavirus’s genetic material.

The newly approved test can deliver results in 15 minutes, using a nasopharyngeal swab and a device that somewhat resembles a pregnancy-test stick.

Abbott’s website says the test is accurate at diagnosing a positive case 93 per cent of the time, while negative results are accurate 99 per cent of the time.

This is the fourth test approved by Health Canada that can be completed without sending specimens to a laboratory and is the second that can provide results in 15 minutes or less.