Air Canada is taking a proactive, science-led approach to protecting its passengers from Covid-19 through two new initiatives involving testing and strategy. Regarding testing, the airline has engaged Spartan Bioscience, an Ottawa-based biotechnology company specialised in portable DNA testing technology, to assess how best to deploy its portable Covid-19 testing technology in the aviation sector.
Spartan is developing a proprietary swab for the collection of DNA samples for its Covid-19 test. The company’s test cartridge (reagents) and the Spartan Cube (a portable DNA analyser device) remain subject to approval by Health Canada.
“Air Canada’s strategy for managing Covid-19 has been to develop and apply multiple layers of biosafety measures for customers and employees. We believe the availability of a rapid, accurate, portable molecular test for Covid-19 will add yet another effective layer. We are excited by the potential and point of care use cases for the Spartan Cube, and look forward to working with the Spartan team in the weeks and months ahead,” said Samuel Elfassy, VP of safety at Air Canada.
The tests would join other Covid-safety measures under the airline’s CleanCare+ programme, which applies biosafety measures at each stage of the journey. Air Canada has committed to adding other processes and technologies as they become available, with others potentially in the pipeline through a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, a global healthcare company.
The Cleveland Clinic is providing medical advisory services to the airline as well as giving access to its local expertise and worldwide enterprise system. The Clinic’s Medical Director Program was initiated in Canada for domestic and global companies and is supported by management and clinical experts across the enterprise to provide strategic guidance on health and safety matters for customer safety.
As the medical advisor to Air Canada, Cleveland Clinic will provide access to expertise including guidance on infectious exposure and toxicology, pandemic and infrastructure response planning and prevention, medical contingency plans and process development, and crisis and organisational risk management.
“We are taking another leadership role via our partnership with the renowned Cleveland Clinic, which enables Air Canada to leverage the strategic insight, advice, resources and recommendations of the world’s leading medical community to further develop protocols, guidelines and standards validated with science-based evidence in our ongoing Covid-19 response. We are committed in our ongoing strategy of continually developing multiple layers of measures for our customers and employees alike,” said Elfassy.