KITCHENER -- A Guelph company is stepping up to help in the fight against COVID-19 by creating testing kits they hope will soon help test some of the country’s most at-risk groups.

Precision Biomonitoring usually tests DNA in plants and animals, but since the start of the pandemic, the molecular biology company switched gears to test DNA in humans to create rapid testing kits.

The company says the kit they developed takes a nasal swab and runs it through a DNA analyzer to detect whether someone has the virus.

Getting tested for COVID-19 usually involves going to an assessment centre and waiting a few days for results, but the company claims that their kits yield result in an hour.

“Sixty minutes later, we have the results. Now we can do nine patient samples at the same time,” says Mario Thomas, CEO of Precision Biomonitoring.

The company says the portable testing kit is meant for groups who need it most, like Indigenous communities, factories or long term care homes.

“It is not meant to replace central lab testing. It’s to complement it for application where central lab is not necessarily the most practical option,” says Thomas.

Precision Biomonitoring is partnering with Shared Value Solutions, a group that supports indigenous communities, to get these testing kits to remote areas.

“The ability for a virus like this to spread in these communities is very high,” says Don Richardson of Shared Value Solutions.

He says that, at present, it can take up to 10 days to get results back to a first nation.

“Everybody would love to have that available now,” says Richardson.

Precision Biomonitoring says several factories are also interested in the kit, so they can test their employees weekly.

“With regular testing of their employees they can create this virus-free zone,” says Thomas.

He says he hopes this contribution can help during these difficult times

The company is now waiting for approval from Health Canada, which they expect to come soon.