Starting next week, Air New Zealand employees who are currently undertaking regular surveillance testing under the Ministry of Health testing order will be invited to participate in a Covid-19 detection study. The study is evaluating whether a saliva sample is an accurate, easy and acceptable method of detecting Covid-19 compared to the current nasopharyngeal swab test. The study was recently given the go ahead by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health National Health and Disability Ethics Committee.
Air New Zealand’s chief medical officer, Dr Ben Johnston, says the airline is keen to investigate how to make the testing process as simple, easy and comfortable as possible for its crew, pilots and airport staff, who are tested on a regular basis.
“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,” he stated. “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.”
The study will run over two to three months and will take place alongside the existing nasopharyngeal swab. ESR will compare the accuracy of both the saliva and regular nasopharyngeal in its laboratories.