Air Canada Exploring Rapid COVID-19 Testing

Air Canada has engaged Spartan Bioscience Inc., an Ottawa-based biotechnology leader in portable DNA testing technology, to assess how best to deploy Spartan’s portable COVID-19 testing technology in the aviation sector.

Samuel Elfassy, vice president, safety at Air Canada, said: “Air Canada’s strategy for managing COVID-19 has been to develop and apply multiple layers of biosafety measures for customers and employees. We believe the availability of a rapid, accurate, portable molecular test for COVID-19 will add yet another effective layer.”

Elfassy continued: “We are excited by the potential and point of care use cases for the Spartan Cube, and look forward to working with the Spartan team in the weeks and months ahead.”

Air Canada has been at the forefront of the airline industry in responding to COVID-19, for example being among the first carriers globally to require face coverings onboard and the first airline in the Americas to take customers’ temperatures prior to boarding.

In May, the airline introduced a comprehensive program, Air Canada CleanCare+, to apply biosafety measures at each stage of the journey.

It has also committed to adding other processes and technologies as they become available, which is why it is pleased to be working with Spartan Bioscience.

Spartan is developing a proprietary swab for the collection of DNA samples for its COVID-19 test. Spartan’s test cartridge (reagents) and the Spartan Cube (portable DNA analyzer device) remain subject to Health Canada approval.

“Spartan is excited to explore how our fast, portable testing technology can help keep Air Canada employees and the travelling public safe as Canada’s economy re-opens,” said Nick Noreau, Spartan Bioscience’s Chief Revenue Officer.

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