New technologies making it possible to screen for COVID-19 in less than an hour are appearing in Quebec.
One of these devices, GeneXpert, from the American manufacturer Cepheid, is already in use in Quebec, confirms by email a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health (MSSS), Marie-Claude Lacasse.
“We are about to introduce new ones,” she added, citing the ID NOW technology from pharmaceutical company Abbott, which received the seal of approval from Health Canada a few days ago.
At a time when many Quebecers are complaining of having to wait several days before getting a screening result, rapid tests have obvious advantages, including that of being able to be performed on site without the need to send samples to a laboratory. for analytical purposes, unlike the traditional way of doing things.
At the time of writing, we were still awaiting clarification as to the number of devices currently in use in Quebec and where. Media reports have reported on their use in remote Indigenous communities such as Mani-utenam near Sept-Îles.
The MSSS has set up a committee to target populations and settings where this type of equipment could be the most beneficial.
Among the sites being considered, there are hospital settings, for example in emergency rooms or preoperative clinics, and screening centers for COVID-19, said Marie-Claude Lacasse.
Depending on the platform, the analysis time varies between 15 and 60 minutes, which allows to obtain a result much faster. And since these are molecular tests, their performance is believed to approximate laboratory analyzes.
Despite their promise to speed up the process, these tools do have limits.
In addition, no more than one to eight tests can be analyzed at a time, and some swabs are not compatible with existing platforms in laboratories.