Health Canada says cannabis labs willing to assist in COVID-19 testing

Federally regulated cannabis labs have answered Health Canada’s call for assistance in supporting COVID-19 testing, and the agency is currently assessing the facilities’ capabilities.

“Several labs have responded indicating their willingness to assist,” a Health Canada spokesman told Marijuana Business Daily this week.

Health Canada is confirming next steps, the spokesman said, including whether the cannabis labs have the appropriate equipment, certifications and protocols to be able to conduct the testing.

Last Thursday, MJBizDaily obtained an email from Health Canada reaching out to cannabis researchers and laboratories as part of efforts to identify lab capacity that might be available in various sectors.

“If you have lab capacity within your facility and are interested in assisting (in COVID-19 testing), please notify us by email,” Health Canada told the cannabis labs and researchers in its email.

The worsening pandemic is straining the ability of provincial and territorial health authorities to provide timely test results for suspected coronavirus cases. Health Canada is looking for ways to help.

In some cases, results are coming back two weeks after COVID-19 testing was conducted.

There were 111 analytical testing licensees for cannabis and 272 active cannabis research licenses in Canada as of mid-March.

Cannabis producers in Canada and the United States have stepped up to assist in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

One of those producers is Organigram, which recently said it was donating 500 liters of ethanol from its New Brunswick production facility to be repurposed into hand sanitizer.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at [email protected].

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.

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