• Mon. Oct 19th, 2020

Dimancherouge

Technology

Edmonton Airport to host trial of new COVID-19 testing technology

In partnership with GLC Medical Inc., Edmonton Airport will run clinical trials of a new COVID-19 test that provides results in one minute.

Edmonton International Airport (YEG) has been chosen as the exclusive location to trial a new COVID-19 test that can produce results in seconds.  

In partnership with GLC Medical (GLCM) Inc. – a subsidiary of Graphene Leaders Canada (GLC) Inc. – Edmonton Airport will host clinical trials with this new technology that has the potential to have global implications for COVID-19 testing.

GLC COVID-19 test kit

Credit: GLC Medical – Prototype of the rapid COVID-19 testing unit.

The test is conducted with a handheld unit that takes a saliva sample from a person and is expected to tell if someone has COVID-19 in under one minute, compared to other tests with longer laboratory-based waiting periods for results. This test promises many advantages, from its ease of use to the elimination of the nasal swab to direct virus detection.  

This kind of test will help address the need for a 14-day quarantine period in Canada and potentially other international quarantine restrictions. By removing or reducing this barrier, it can help travellers feel safer in returning to travel.  

President and CEO of Edmonton International Airport, Tom Ruth, said: “We all want travel to get back to normal, and a rapid COVID-19 test will accelerate this return while enhancing passenger confidence in the safety of our industry. While we have seen some growth in recent months, our passenger numbers during COVID-19 continue to remain low, and a test like this is crucial to our future. All airlines, airports and the whole travel and hospitality sector are looking for this solution. If YEG can play a role in bringing new technology and science forward by partnering with experts like GLC, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. This is an exciting opportunity for all of us.” 

GLC Medical Inc. is headquartered in the Edmonton Research Park and has garnered international attention for the development of this test, which is still undergoing clinical testing as part of the regulatory approval process with health authorities.

As an airport, EIA understands working with governments and within a regulated structure. With secure and safe facilities and a consistent flow of passengers, it is one reason an airport is an ideal place to start testing the trial phase of this new COVID-19 rapid test.   

 How the test works:

  • The person being tested provides a saliva sample into the testing unit
  • The graphene surface inside the testing unit is designed to bond to the spike protein in the virus
  • This binding event changes the electronic characteristics of the graphene, and this measurable change is what is used to determine if a person is infected or not
  • The device will show a red or green light in under one minute to indicate if a person is virus-free or not
  • The test is not required to be administered by a medical professional and, with training, can be administered by anyone, similar to how basic first aid training is done. 

The next step is to bring this test and GLC to Edmonton Airport and establish a safe and secure test site. Details about the testing and the process will be shared in the coming weeks. A start date has not been determined, but, once it begins, the clinical trial will last several weeks during autumn 2020. This trial phase will help GLC Medical secure regulatory approval and certification for its test from Health Canada and other regulatory bodies, including in the U.S. and other areas of the world.

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