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  • Joe Breitfeller

British Airways Trials World’s First 25 Second Ultra-Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test

British Airways is the first airline in the world to conduct a trial with Canary Global and their Pelican ultra-rapid COVID-19 antigen saliva test, which displays results in 25 seconds. The initial trial will be conducted with flight and cabin crew members.


British Airways Partners With Canary Global for World's First 25 Second COVID-19 Test - Courtesy British Airways

On Thursday (May 13, 2021), British Airways announced the launch of a ‘world’s first’ trial with medical tech company Canary Global and the company’s Pelican ultra-rapid COVID-19 test. The highly intelligent saliva test can detect symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals for COVID-19, including variants, and displays the results in 25 seconds. The trial will initially be conducted on flight and cabin crew members, with results compared against the standard PCR test results. Using nano-technology, the cloud-based digital test has CE Mark and UK MHRA approval and is currently going through U.S. FDA approval. Subject to a successful evaluation, British Airways hopes to offer the technology on applicable routes, where tests are required to meet stated specificity and sensitivity standards.


In Thursday’s announcement, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, Sean Doyle, 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’s CEO and inventor of the technology, Raj Reddy, added,


“Combining the power of nano sensor 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 travellers and crew around the world.”


The Pelican test is a non-invasive saliva ultra-rapid digital antigen test. Users simply place a saliva sample into a disposable sensor unit, shake and insert it into a re-usable digital reader, which is connected via blue-tooth to a smartphone, and then wait for results to appear through a mobile app. The test probes for both the S and N SARS-Cov-2 protein and has been optimized to detect variants that have originated around the globe.


Since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, British Airways has championed testing to reopen travel safely and has offered guests a wide range of discounted COVID-19 pre-departure, return to the UK and arrivals testing options. The carrier has a dedicated webpage where customers can find the right test to meet destination entry requirements which can be accessed by clicking here.




Source: British Airways