KITCHENER -- Health Canada has approved an easy, rapid COVID-19 test kit based on research out of the University of Guelph.

A news release said the handheld device, called the Hyris bCUBE, was approved last week, and is the first portable system approved for screening for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The release claims that the technology provides results that are 95 per cent accurate within 90 minutes. That makes it optimal for use in offices, airports and schools.

"This technology can be used where we live, where we work, where we play, even in gyms, anywhere where there are concerns someone has the virus and is at risk of contaminating or inoculating other people," said Prof. Steve Newmaster in a news release.

He said the device is sensitive and specific enough to pick up on different strains of coronaviruses, which could mean fewer false positives for COVID-19. The news release also said the testing could help reduce false positives caused by a flu virus.

"Public health is absolutely doing their best and doing a great job, but there is an incredible demand on them," said Dave Bullock with Songbird Life Science.

The new portable test could help lighten the load.

"It's a game changer," Bullock said. "It's a small device, roughly the size of a Kleenex box, and what it does is gives point of care testing."

The Hyris bCUBE was developed by Songbird Life Science based on research from the University of Guelph.

Using a nasal swab or surface wipe, the bCUBE can provide results that are 95 per cent accurate in 90 minutes.

"The ability to take the power of a COVID test, a detection test anywhere you need it at any time," Bullock said.

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"Flu season is coming, and people are going to be worried they have COVID-19," he said.

"Testing is going to be bogged down in clinical labs. This bCUBE will provide an alternative in a workplace or in other areas."

The company is awaiting approval for the technology in the U.S., which could come as soon as this month, and hopes to sell the device to companies and organizations.