It was recently reported that Edmonton International Airport (YEG) will host a trial for a new graphene-based COVID-19 testing technology that can produce results in seconds. The trials will be executed in partnership with GLC Medical, a subsidiary of Graphene Leaders Canada (GLC).

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 could help address the need for a 14-day quarantine period and potentially other international quarantine restrictions. The testing technology is still undergoing clinical testing as part of the regulatory approval process with health authorities.

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.