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Canada Asks Cannabis Labs for Help With Covid-19 Testing

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Mar 31, 2020   
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Canada’s federal health regulator, Health Canada, has appealed to cannabis labs in the country for assistance with Covid-19 testing.

In an email sent on Thursday evening, the regulator said it was “working to identify lab capacity that might be available across the country in various sectors, including at licensed cannabis production sites, to assist with supporting Covid-19 testing.”

The email goes on to say that any company with lab facilities interested in supporting the testing can notify Health Canada via email.

The ultimate test

As of March 30, many regions in Canada are struggling to carry out enough coronavirus tests. In Ontario, just 334 tests have been completed per 100,000 residents, amid surging numbers of new cases in the area.

To help improve these figures, Health Canada is looking to utilize lab facilities in various sectors, including at licensed cannabis sites.

“We are currently working to understand the specific needs and related questions, and we will be it touch in the coming days to request more information. If you have lab capacity within your facility and are interested in assisting, please notify us by email,” Acting Director General Joanne Garrah asked in the Health Canada email, as reported by Marijuana Business Daily.

Several cannabis companies have reportedly answered the call already and are currently working to refit their facilities to test for Covid-19.

Laura Gallant, a spokesperson for Aurora Cannabis Inc., told BNN Bloomberg that the company is looking into whether its internal lab has adequate capacity for the unexpected testing task.

“We all think it’s an exciting opportunity and (are) quickly looking at whether our various lab spaces could meet needs,” she said in an email to Bloomberg. “We just have to do due diligence in terms of seeing if our resources will meaningfully help fill gaps HC [Health Canada] is identifying, which is our hope.”

Leo Bear-McGuinness

Science Writer & Editor

Leo joined Analytical Cannabis in 2019. From research to regulations and analysis to agriculture, his writing covers all the need-to-know news for the cannabis industry. He holds a Bachelor's in Biology from Newcastle University and a Master's in Science Communication from the University of Edinburgh.


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