The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to accept best-in-class rapid antigen tests in fulfillment of COVID -19 testing requirements following the publication of new research by OXERA and Edge Health.
IATA’s Director General and CEO,. Alexandre de Juniac, said “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 reopen 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,”
Juniac went on to state that the current fragmented testing requirement leaves travelers confused. Currently many governments are not accepting Rapid test results. The disadvantage of the PCR tests which is the only option available in many parts of the World is the significantly higher cost and the time inconvenience.
“The goal is to have a clear set of testing options that are medically effective, financially accessible, and practically available to all prospective travelers,” said de Juniac.
As International travel starts to open, testing is likely to become a regular part of the process. In effect, a rapid, cost effective test will determine how the Travel Industry will recover.
“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,’ said Michele Granatstein, Partner at Oxera and Head of its Aviation Practice.
Rapid testing is already widely used in non-travel settings like schools and workplaces. “Extending its use to travel is a logical step. Science backs this up. In real world conditions, antigen testing is as effective as PCR testing in reducing the risk of cross-border transmission. Meanwhile the cost and bureaucracy of PCR tests adds huge burdens to families and businesses looking to travel. These are important considerations in preparing for a successful re-start,” said de Juniac.