A self-administered test involves a “machine-learning holographic microscope,” which Dell and Intel hope can identify if a person has the disease and deliver results in less than half a minute.
Two other experimental tests claim to give results in 10 and 30 minutes.
Heathrow bosses are reviewing the test results and will share the information with ministers in an attempt to persuade them to replace the quarantine for arrivals in “red list” countries and increase passenger numbers again.
In a statement, they said: “As the results of these initial trials are only advisory until the methodologies are proven to work in a non-clinical setting, participating colleagues also took a government-approved PCR test. and provided by the private sector, administered by Collinson Assistance. Services Ltd to compare their results to government accredited tests. “
Currently, travelers from countries such as France, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands and Switzerland must self-isolate for 14 days after flying in the UK. The aviation industry is angry at restrictions that executives say deter many from taking vacations abroad.
The universities of Oxford and Manchester are working with Heathrow on the three rapid tests to screen people on arrival and departure for Covid-19 infection.
If they are successful and become available, the tests could cost as little as £ 30 each.
“The long-term goal of the trial is to understand whether these tests could be performed quickly and efficiently on large numbers of people outside of a laboratory and to ensure that they are accurate enough to be delivered in an airport environment, ”said a spokesperson for Heathrow. said.
“The tests evaluate three different test methods for accuracy, user experience, and convenience outside of a lab environment.”
The airport monitored the different sample collection methods and result timelines to determine the most efficient and user-friendly test method.
Some countries already administer tests at airports. But at the moment, the UK does not allow the quarantine period to be reduced if the traveler tests negative due to incubation times.
Heathrow already has a testing center where passengers can pay £ 150 for an antigen test, to show if they have coronavirus. It takes a negative follow-up test later to get someone out of quarantine.
The other two tests involve a nasal or throat swab which produces results in 30 minutes and a saliva test which shows results in 10 minutes.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said without rapid testing Britain’s competitive advantage in aviation could be lost to other countries.