Canada Association of Tourism Employees

IATA needs Governments to eliminate costly PCR Covid exams

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), following the release of new research from OXERA and Edge Health, urged governments to accept world-class rapid antigen tests to meet COVID-19 testing requirements.

  • The OXERA Edge Health report commissioned by the IATA found that antigen testing:I agree: The best antigen tests provide results that are largely comparable to PCR tests for the precise identification of infected travelers. For example, the BinaxNOW antigen test only misses one positive case in 1000 travelers (based on a 1% infection rate among travelers). And it performs similarly to PCR testing for false negatives.
  • Practically: The processing times for antigen tests are 100 times faster than for PCR tests
  • Cost efficient: Antigen tests are on average 60% cheaper than PCR tests.

The evaluation of the effectiveness of rapid tests for SARS-CoV-2 resulted in the following statement:

“The restart of international aviation will fuel the economic recovery from COVID-19. Alongside vaccines, testing will play a vital role in giving governments confidence to reopen their borders to travelers. Accuracy is a top priority for governments. However, travelers also need tests to be comfortable and affordable. The OXERA Edge Health report shows that the best antigen tests in their class can meet all of these criteria. It is important for governments to take these results into account when making plans to restart, ”said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA.

The testing requirements are currently fragmented, which is confusing for travelers. In addition, many governments do not allow rapid tests. If the only options available to travelers are PCR testing, it comes with a significant cost penalty and inconvenience. In some parts of the world, PCR testing capacity is limited, with clinical use correctly given first priority.

“Travelers need options. Including antigen testing in acceptable tests will certainly add strength to recovery. The EU specification of acceptable antigen tests provides a good basis for a more comprehensive international harmonization of acceptable standards. We must now see that governments implement these recommendations. The goal is to have a set of clear testing options that are medically effective, financially accessible, and available to virtually all potential travelers, ”said de Juniac.

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