Air New Zealand take part in Covid-19 testing study

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Sarah Peddie

Air New Zealand employees will be invited to take part in a Covid-19 study that will examine the effectiveness of using saliva samples. 

The study will be carried out by the Institution of Environmental Science and Research on a number of employees of the airline. 

They will be examining the effectiveness of using saliva samples to detect coronavirus compared to the current nasopharyngeal swab test.

The swab test is the most common worldwide but has a reputation for being uncomfortable and sometimes painful. 

All Air New Zealand employees who are currently taking regular surveillance testing have been invited to take part in the ESR study which has been given the go ahead by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health National Health and Disability Ethics Committee.

Dr Ben Johnston, Air New Zealand Chief Medical Officer said: "It’s great to team up with ESR on this trial to see if a faster and more non-invasive option is available as it’s likely surveillance testing for COVID-19 will be required for some time into the future.

"This study will bring us one step closer to looking at the effectiveness of saliva testing, which would greatly improve the experience for our people who are committed to keeping New Zealanders safe."

The study will run over the course of two to three months and will take place alongside the nasopharyngeal swab test.

Both sampling methods will be compared at ESR laboratories.

Air New Zealand is eager to investigate how testing can be made more simple and comfortable for their employees as they are tested on a regular basis. 

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