#HealthCanada; #RapidCoronavirusBloodTest; #BTNX; #NasalSwabs
Ottawa, Apr 12 (Canadian-Media): It was reported by Health Canada that a rapid coronavirus blood test that's being manufactured in Canada by Markham, Ont., company BTNX, and shipped to the United States is not ready for use here, media reports said.
Rapid Blood Test. Image credit: BTNX products
While there is a backlog of tests done through nasal swabs in Canada's medical laboratories, rapid blood tests that could hasten diagnosis remain off the table here.
The company had reportedly been told by Health Canada rapid blood tests it's seeking to sell will remain under review until a greater national strategy on their use is developed despite the fact that sales of the same test have been allowed to proceed in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.
CEO of the company BTNX, Iqabal Sunderani said that their sister company in the U.K. is literally selling this in the millions.
Unlike the traditional swabs that test for the presence of the virus, these rapid tests use just a couple of drops of blood from a pinprick on the finger to detect the presence of antibodies that fight the virus. With no trip to a laboratory required, results are available on the spot in 15 minutes. The tests cost around $10 each.
Rapid blood test can't detect the virus in its early stages but are effective at diagnosing people about five to seven days after symptoms show up, once the body has had a chance to produce antibodies.
The test can also help identify who is immune to the illness, including those who had already had the illness, as well as some who may have acquired the virus but never become sick.
In a letter co-signed by 90 physicians to the federal government, Dr. Jean Carruthers, a Vancouver ophthalmologist and ocular plastic surgeon, said that he is disappointed that a test made in Canada by Canadians can't be used on Canadians.
Citing Germany and South Korea have used rapid blood tests systematically to identify who can safely go back to work in front-line health care and the service industry, Carruthers said and these people can also help trace the contacts of people who have been infected.
Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease specialist and the chief of staff at Humber River Hospital in Toronto, echoed that sentiment.
At BTNX, Pittaway said health agencies around the world have been able to take these decisions and hopes Canada will also soon make a well-informed decision soon.