Air Canada to start using technology to test for COVID-19 and get results within the hour
Air Canada has announced plans to explore rapid COVID-19 testing in support of their multi-layered safety efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline is working with Spartan Bioscience Inc., an Ottawa-based biotechnology leader in portable DNA testing technology.
Spartan is currently developing a proprietary swab for the collection of DNA samples for a COVID-19 test. They have also created a portable DNA analyzer device called the Spartan Cube.
According to the company's website, the Spartan Cube goes from sample to result in less than one hour.
Spartan claims their technology would be "ideal" for the fast and portable detection of COVID-19 because it can be deployed in settings such as "airports, cruise ships, military bases, and other critical points of entry."
Air Canada now plans to assess how best to deploy Spartan's portable COVID-19 testing technology in the aviation sector.
"Air Canada's strategy for managing COVID-19 has been to develop and apply multiple layers of biosafety measures for customers and employees," said Samuel Elfassy, vice president, safety at Air Canada in a statement.
"We believe the availability of a rapid, accurate, portable molecular test for COVID-19 will add yet another effective layer," Elfassy added.
"We are excited by the potential and point of care use cases for the Spartan Cube, and look forward to working with the Spartan team in the weeks and months ahead."
Spartan's test cartridge (reagents) and the Spartan Cube remain subject to Health Canada approval.
Nick Noreau, Spartan Bioscience's Chief Revenue Officer, said: "Spartan is excited to explore how our fast, portable testing technology can help keep Air Canada employees and the travelling public safe as Canada's economy re-opens."
Air Canada has already implemented several measures in response to the challenge of COVID-19.
The airline was among the first carriers globally to require face coverings onboard and the first in the Americas to take customers' temperatures before boarding.
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