UBC researchers are teaming up with the Westjet and Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR) to investigate whether a rapid screening program at YVR is a practical and effective way to contribute to a unified future solution for the global aviation industry.
Dr. Don Sin, repirologist and Director of HLI, and co-Principal Investigator Dr. Marc Romney, have initiated a pilot project on passengers aged 19 years and older on select departing WestJet flights at YVR. Passengers who are willing to participate with have nasopharyngeal swabs collects, as well as mouth rinses and screen for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) using a rapid antigen test. These tests can provide results within 15 to 20 minutes, making them a feasible option for study in the live airport environment at YVR.
The research team is interested in understanding how many passengers departing from YVR are asymptomatic, but have the virus. Results may help public health leaders better understand to what degree asymptomatic individuals are contributing to the spread of COVID-19 and how rapid COVID-19 testing can be implemented in places such as airports.