UBC launches 13-week COVID-19 rapid testing clinic, trial


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — UBC has launched a 13-week COVID-19 testing clinic on campus, and it will study the efficacy of a rapid, self-swab nasal test.

The clinic opened Thursday and uses the Roche SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test Kit that is currently under review by Health Canada. In addition to offering quick results, the testing will contribute to research on the viability of self-administered tests. Each appointment takes about 30 minutes, with results available in roughly 15.

Dr. Sabrina Wong explains the swab is not the same as the nasopharyngeal swab used at testing clinics.

“The nasal swab is the one that goes in about two centimetres in your nose,” she says.

“The one that’s more uncomfortable, we call it the brain massage, where it goes through your nose to the back of your throat — that one is a little uncomfortable. I don’t think people can administer that themselves.”

RELATED: Rapid COVID-19 testing at YVR contributes to safer travel: study

Testing is meant for people who are asymptomatic — and if successful, these tests could be used in setting like concerts, large sporting events, and airports. Wong notes making rapid tests available could help ease anxiety as the province embarks on its restart plan.

“I guess I would just emphasize that I think rapid testing could be used as we continue to open up and restart in British Columbia as an additional layer of protection. that could be huge. Hopefully, that would help people feel less anxious and keep them safe,” she says, adding it is predictable that case counts will increase with more social contact.

“People might be hesitant to go [places] because they’re not sure, so this is something that can be helpful. If everything goes as planned, then it’s possible that this kind of medical device could be available to the wider general public.”

RELATED: UBC rapid test pilot supports COVID-19 testing in risky environments

A statement from the clinic explains how eligibility has been expanded from the initial pilot project, which it says was successful at identifying asymptomatic cases and stopping potential spread.

“The expanded screening clinic will be open to all student housing residents. Critical service employees, like custodial and campus security staff, as well as other students already on campus, such as varsity athletes, and those attending select in-person classes, including faculty members, are also eligible to take part.

Those who have been vaccinated can get tested, but not participate in the clinical trial.

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