Fast and affordable asymptomatic COVID-19 testing -- using a product developed in Hamilton -- is now available for Hamiltonians.
Good To Go Test screening services provides private PCR and rapid antigen testing using the highest quality Canadian test components combined with accredited lab analysis.
The PCR test kit uses McMaster Molecular Medium (MMM), which deactivates any COVID-19 virus to prevent lab acquired infections and speeds up the testing process. MMM is being used by Good To Go Test (GTGT) to safely provide PCR COVID-19 testing at four Hamilton-area pharmacies.
The transport medium was first developed in early 2020 by David Bulir, assistant professor of pathology and molecular medicine, and scientists from McMaster University and The Research Institute of St. Joe's Hamilton's Disease Diagnostics and Development Group.
GTGT and the MMM are operated and licenced respectively by the Bay Area Health Trust (BAHT), which helped commercialize the medium for use in Hamilton and beyond.
“After witnessing MMM’s rollout in testing centres across the province, it is truly exciting to see it in a real sense come back home to Hamilton, where this home-made product will facilitate fast and easy asymptomatic testing for students, faculty, staff and the local public,” said Catriona Franc, manager of business operations at BAHT.
“By launching Good To Go Test using MMM, we are expanding its reach and visibility across the Hamilton area and really providing a much-needed service.”
As of this week, GTGT testing locations include the McMaster Drugstore located inside the McMaster Children’s Hospital, McKnight’s Pharmacy at 685 Main St. E., the Hamilton General Drugstore inside Hamilton General Hospital and Silver Creek Guardian Pharmacy in Stoney Creek. Franc said GTGT will continue to expand, eventually offer testing at over 20 Hamilton-area pharmacies.
Franc said GTGT’s services are ideal for anyone requiring clearance to enter their schools or workplaces, as well as for travelling and attending private functions. Everyone who has a test will receive a certificate with a QR code that they can present for inspection.
PCR test fees are $150 for same-day and $145 for next-day results, not including tax. Rapid antigen tests are $50 before tax and there are no cancellation or rebooking fees. Anyone booking tests can also use the ‘MAC10’ promo code to receive a 10 per cent discount until May 31. Visit www.GoodToGoTest.ca
“Our service is local to Hamilton and trustworthy,” said Franc.
Key to its successful rollout were student interns from McMaster’s Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization program tasked with securing MMM’s patent. With the patent pending, BAHT embarked upon its regulatory journey for MMM’s use in testing labs.
While MMM renders COVID-19 viruses inert, it also keeps viral genetic material stable for testing. This is especially vital at times when testing is in high demand, such as during the current Omicron outbreak.
BAHT operates life sciences businesses including MMM and GTGT as part of the Hamilton region’s ‘ecosystem’ helping to foster a new economy based on biomedical innovation.
BAHT’s business ventures aim to return value to its beneficiaries, which include McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences and the Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation.