British Airways trials 25-second digital COVID-19 test


British Airways is conducting a trial with Canary Global, a medical tech company, to assess how its Pelican COVID-19 Ultra Rapid COVID-19 test, which displays a result within 25 seconds, can play a role in opening up travel.

The airline will be inviting flight and cabin crew to take the Pelican COVID-19 test and will compare the performance of the result against existing tests that they are already taking.

Recently approved for use in Europe and UK, the test is currently going through U.S. FDA approval and the airline is the first in the world to trial the new technology.

Subject to successful evaluation the airline hopes to be able to offer the test technology on applicable routes where tests have to meet the stated specificity and sensitivity standards.

The test is a non-invasive saliva ultra-rapid digital antigen test that delivers 98% sensitivity and 100% specificity in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2.

Users simply take a sample of their saliva into a disposable sensor unit, shake and insert it into a re-usable digital reader which is connected to a blue-tooth enabled device like a smartphone, and then wait for the results that appear through a mobile app.

The test which probes for both the S and N SARS-Cov-2 protein is optimized to detect variants that have originated across the globe.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said, “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. 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.”

Canary Global is in discussions with other travel, hospitality and events organizers around the world to help them safely open up with the Pelican ultra-rapid COVID19 test. The test could also help to safely open up other business and schools. The company is also ramping up production to meet global demand.

Raj Reddy, Canary’s CEO and inventor of the technology said, “Combining the power of nanosensor and digital detection technology, the Pelican CV19 test is the first ultra-rapid test that can return a PCR-like accuracy of 98% sensitivity and 100% specificity. We developed the test with the travel industry in mind where speed, accuracy and ease of use are paramount. We are very excited to partner with BA as pioneer and industry leader to trial this test; and we hope the Pelican test can soon be used as a standard test for travelers and crew around the world.”

British Airways has consistently championed testing as a way to re-open travel safely, and has ensured its customers have access to a wide range of discounted COVID19 pre-departure, return to the UK and arrivals testing options. The airline has a dedicated web page where customers can find the right test to meet the entry requirements for their destination.

British Airways’ customers also traveling to Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, can now also upload their negative COVID-19 test result and other documentation directly into for verification before travel.

© Travel News Asia

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Recently approved for use in Europe and UK, 

The UK is part of Europe. If you mean the EU then say it, Europe and the EU are two different things.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yeah, I hate it when they do that. It's like how Japanese often say Japan and Asia.

Now, this is the sort of innovation we need to see in Japan. What has happened to this place?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Luddite. Remember that the UK voted not to be part of European Union ( Brexit) but it geographically in Europe. Ask how many proud Brits really feel European with the current populist government.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is so cool! I hope it starts getting used at airports more often, and can reduce wait times. Technology is amazing sometimes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds good, come on down, if the price is right!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Free from the European shackles, Britain leads the way again! :)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


There won't be price, it's free at airport. That's how the test should go ahead.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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