IATA Warns Of Negative Impact Of Covid PCR Testing

The  International Air Transport Association (IATA) has raised concerns that Covid-19 testing requirements will slow the recovery of the tourism industry unless changes are made.

They have urged governments to accept best-in-class rapid antigen tests for Covid-19 testing rather than PCR tests.

“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 travelers. For governments, the top priority is accuracy. But travelers will also need tests to be convenient and affordable. The OXERA-Edge Health report tells us that the best-in-class antigen tests can tick all these boxes. It’s important for governments to consider these findings as they make plans for a re-start.”

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO.

Covid-19 testing requirements for travellers are currently fragmented. Many governments do not allow rapid testing and PCR tests often come with significant cost and in many parts of the world are hard to access.

IATA commissioned research by OXERA and Edge Health concluded that rapid antigen tests provided the security of accurate testing, were more accessible had a much lower cost than PCR testing with much, much faster results.

The report said that the cost impact of PCR testing will reduce demand by an average of 65%. Replacing PCR with antigen testing would still have a cost impact on demand, but with a 30% impact.

“Travelers need options. Including antigen testing among acceptable tests will certainly give strength to the recovery. And the EU’s specification of acceptable antigen tests offers a good baseline for wider international harmonization of acceptable standards. We now need to see governments implement these recommendations. The goal is to have a clear set of testing options that are medically effective, financially accessible, and practically available to all prospective travelers.”

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO.

The OXERA-Edge Health report concluded that antigen tests are:

  • Accurate: the best antigen tests provide broadly comparable results to PCR tests in accurately identifying infected travelers. The BinaxNOW antigen test, for example, misses just one positive case in 1,000 travellers (based on an infection rate of 1% among travellers). It has similarly comparable performance to PCR tests in levels of false negatives.
  • Convenient: processing times for antigen tests are 100 times faster than for PCR testing
  • Cost-efficient: antigen tests are, on average, 60% cheaper than PCR tests.

“When international travel reopens testing is likely to remain part of the strategy for controlling COVID. The type of testing regime chosen will make the difference in how quickly the travel industry recovers. The choice of a rapid test would be a real boost to the global travel and international business community, and our research shows it can be as effective as other testing regimes and as effective as a ten-day quarantine.”

Michele Granatstein, Partner at Oxera and Head of its Aviation Practice.

A number of rapid, less invasive, testing solutions are under development and testing throughout the world. These solutions would be a significant boost to many industries including travel if they are proven to be accurate and are cost effective.

Advertising and affiliate links help to support this site. We never tailor content to encourage sales with a particular company. We only partner with organisations who we believe provide a good service or product. Thank you.

Published by flyingdogtravel

Travel inspiration

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: