British Airways is trialling a new ultra-rapid Covid-19 test which could be a “game changer” according to the UK airline.
It has teamed up with medical tech company Canary Global on an antigen test which gives results in just 25 seconds.
The non-invasive test, called Pelican, is said to correctly identify 98 per cent of people who have Covid-19, and 100 per cent of those who don’t.
The user puts a saliva sample into a disposable sensor unit, which is shaken and then inserted into a re-usable digital reader which is connected to a blue-tooth enabled device.
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The test looks for both the S and N SARS-Cov-2 protein, and the result comes back in 25 seconds.
It has been approved in the UK and Europe and is currently being examined by the US Food and Drug Administration. British Airways is going to trial its crew and compare the performance of the result against existing tests that they are already taking.
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said it could be a breakthrough for international travel in the pandemic.
“As we start to see the opening up of travel we remain committed to exploring easy and affordable testing solutions to help our customers travel again, whether it’s for business, to reunite with family and friends or take a much-needed break abroad,” said Doyle.
“We think this new ultra-rapid test is a game changer so we are delighted to work with the team at Canary to begin initial trials with our flight and cabin crew, before exploring what role it could play as a customer testing option.”
Britain recently announced a “first tentative step” toward resuming international travel, saying UK citizens will be able to travel to countries including Portugal, Iceland and Israel next week without having to quarantine upon their return.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the country’s current blanket ban on overseas holidays will be replaced on May 17 by a traffic-light system classifying countries as low, medium or high risk.
The “green list” of 12 low-risk territories also includes Gibraltar, the Faroe Islands and the Falkland Islands – but not major holiday destinations for Britons such as France, Italy, Spain and Greece, which are on the “amber” list. Britons travelling to those countries, and many others including the United States and Canada, will have to self-isolate for 10 days when they return.
Britons hoping for an overseas holiday without a quarantine do not have a lot to choose from. Several countries on the green list are still closed to British visitors, including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Others are little-visited, such as the remote islands of Saint Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.
– with AP