Sunday, May 26, 2024

New rapid COVID test ready for take off

The Government has partnered with Air New Zealand to trial an innovative new highly accurate rapid COVID-19 testing scheme.

The trial uses Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) technology. Associate Minister for COVID-19 Response, Dr Ayesha Verrall said the test has the potential to combine the speed of rapid antigen tests (RATs) with the accuracy of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

“As New Zealand reconnects with the world, we are exploring innovative COVID-19 testing technology to help keep people safe and minimise disruption as we welcome new visitors,” the Minister said.

“We are constantly monitoring the latest scientific advancements to maintain our successful COVID-19 response. Our Government is partnering with Air New Zealand to trial the ‘Lucira Check-It’ test kits. Using LAMP technology, the test has the potential to combine the speed of rapid antigen tests (RATs) with the accuracy of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

“LAMP tests are both cheaper than PCRs and more convenient: they are self-administered and provide results to users within 30 minutes.”

Dr Verrall said the accuracy of the LAMP test had already been established through clinical trials.

Staff demonstrate the new test at today’s press conference.

“The purpose of this trial is to prove that the test can be easily self-administered, and that the Air New Zealand crew taking part can quickly identify the results,” she said.

“Air New Zealand’s role in this trial demonstrates the sector’s and Government’s continued determination to keep business moving, tourists arriving, and goods flowing. The start of this trial comes as we prepare to welcome our first visitors from visa-wavier countries which is a crucial part of our economic recovery.

“There are many wider benefits that LAMP tests could provide to New Zealanders. These include a self-test option with quick results for travellers, border workers, healthcare workers and critical employees prior to travel or commencing work.”

Lamp tests could also be used for high-risk settings such as aged residential care facilities and hospitals, the Minister said.

“New Zealand is open for business, and we now want to make sure international visitors have the confidence to travel safely and easily,” she said.

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