5 APRIL 2021
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to accept best-in-class rapid antigen tests in fulfilment of Covid-19 testing requirements following the publication of new research by Oxera and Edge Health, two British specialist consultancies.
The report, commissioned by the trading association of the world’s airlines, found that antigen tests are accurate and provide broadly comparable results to PCR tests in accurately identifying infected travellers. They are 60% cheaper with processing times 100 times faster than for PCR.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO was outspoken in his condemnation of the expensive PCR tests. “In real world conditions, antigen testing is as effective as PCR testing in reducing the risk of cross-border transmission. Meanwhile the cost and bureaucracy of PCR tests adds huge burdens to families and businesses looking to travel.”
“Restarting international aviation will energize the economic recovery from Covid-19. Along with vaccines, testing will play a critical role in giving governments the confidence to re-open their borders to travellers. For governments, the top priority is accuracy. But travellers will also need tests to be convenient and affordable.”
“We are already seeing rapid testing becoming commonplace in non-travel settings such as schools and workplaces. Extending its use to travel is a logical step. Science backs this up. These are important considerations in preparing for a successful re-start,” said de Juniac.
Also see in this week's BTN ON THE SOAPBOX: Willie Walsh – chairman and chief executive, IATA
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