Canadore College and Sudbury company partnering to provide rapid COVID-19 test results
NORTH BAY -- A Sudbury-based company called RapidScreen is partnering with Canadore College in North Bay to conduct and provide fast COVID-19 test results.
"Having somewhere to send some of these private tests to keep the economy moving and keep industry moving is really, really important," said RapidScreen founder Dr. Dennis Reich in a Skype interview with CTV News.
The first COVID-19 tests will begin in early January using the state-of-the-art laboratory equipment in the school’s genomics lab.
"It is the same triple gene PCR tests conducted by the accredited public health labs," said David Villeneuve, the Canadore College functional genomics laboratory coordinator.
The lab will act as a hub for RapidScreen. It has the equipment necessary to conduct COVID-19 tests with a 24-hour turnaround time, giving anxious patients their results quickly.
"We're trying to be responsible of the needs of the industry and individuals now. Up until now, we've predominantly been testing businesses," Reich said.
The lab is set to relieve pressure on provincial labs and increase testing capacity in northern Ontario.
"To my knowledge, we're the only community college that has this type of equipment," Villeneuve said.
RapidScreen provides COVID-19 testing to several sectors, including mining and industrial businesses, film and theatre companies, construction firms and corporate offices. The lab will able to test between 100-200 samples each day with the hope of increasing capacity in the coming months.
"We have the automation robotics in order and that will, hopefully, be commissioned by March," Villeneuve said. “That will give us the capability to conduct 700-1,000 test per day."
The first test results will be conducted in early January. RapidScreen is hoping to set up a travel clinic in partnership with Canadore College.
Patients would get a swab and a quick result, so if they need to travel to an area that requires a negative PCR test, they will know if they can go.