25-second ultra rapid COVID test in the works for travel

British Airways has started conducting trials of an ultra rapid saliva test that can detect all variants of COVID.

British Airways
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British Airways

Next week, the UK is opening up international travel to a select group of destinations but there are still many concerns over whether or not that will hamper the progress made so far.

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The aviation industry has been one of the hardest hit in the pandemic, and now airlines are racing to find a way to make air travel safer. British Airways (BA) in particular has been making considerable progress.

Pelican Covid-19 Ultra Rapid

The airline is currently testing a 25-second rapid COVID test, called the Pelican Covid-19 Ultra Rapid test which was developed by medical company, Canary Group. BA has declared that the test can accurately identify 98% of passengers who have been infected with the virus, and 100% who have not.

As of now, the airline has invited only flight and cabin crew members to take part in their trial. To aptly check the accuracy, they will be comparing the results against existing methods of testing. If the trials are successful, this device could be a ‘game changer’ for the travel sector. Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways said:

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.

According to BA, the test has been approved for use in the UK and Europe, but the hope is that it can become a standard practice all around the world. CEO of Canary, and inventor of the device, Raj Reddy said:

We developed the test with the travel industry in mind where speed, accuracy and ease of use are paramount.
We hope the Pelican test can soon be used as a standard test for travellers and crew around the world.

How does it work?

To determine their results, users have to deposit a sample of their saliva into a disposable sensor unit. They shake the sensor, insert it into a reusable digital reader, and then connect the reader to a smartphone via bluetooth. After 25 seconds, the results will appear on a mobile application.

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