Heathrow boss calls for 20-second Covid test to be sped up to save economy

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Airport bosses are imploring the UK government to speed up the introduction of a Covid-19 test that delivers results in just 20 seconds.Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye is calling for the Virolens test to be speeded up after a three-week trial at the airport.

It comes after the Prime Minister announced plans for mass testing in the so-called Operation Moonshot, in which millions of people could be tested every day so that they could “behave in a way that was exactly as in the world before Covid ”.

The test was developed by British start-up iAbra and is expected to begin clinical trials so that it can eventually be certified for medical use.

The company said the test does not need to be administered by medical professionals and is repeatable, with each screening device capable of performing hundreds of tests per day.

Current polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests that are conducted in laboratories use swabs and must be processed at different temperatures, which means it takes longer to get results.

Mr Holland-Kaye, Managing Director of Heathrow Airport, said: ‘Covid-19 testing is the lifeline the UK economy needs to get back on its feet. Currently, the bottleneck is the availability of preferred government PCR testing labs – rapid point-of-care testing solves this problem.

“I have experienced the iAbra test myself, alongside the PCR test – it is faster and cheaper, and potentially more accurate. We urge the government to accelerate the use of this technology to protect the economy and help save millions of jobs in this country. ”

Mass testing will allow people to lead more normal lives, Boris Johnson said at the Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, as he pledged to increase testing capacity to 500,000 tests per day from here at the end of October.

Describing the “ambitious” plans, he said: “We believe, we hope, we believe that new types of simple, rapid and scalable tests will become available and they use swabs, or saliva, and can turn around, resulting in at 90 or even 20 minutes.

“Most importantly, it should be possible to deploy these tests on a much larger scale than any other country has yet completed, literally millions of tests, processed every day.”

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