Switzerland's ender to provide rapid COVID-19 diagnostics tests for cabin crew

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ender diagnostics, a Swiss firm specialising in rapid molecular biological tests, has announced a collaboration with a national airline to test long-hall cabin crew members for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The company announced the collaboration with Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), a subsidiary of Lufthansa.

In the absence of any approved vaccine rapid testing is seen as the key to controlling the coronavirus pandemic.

The hope is that testing SWISS long-haul crew members prior to departure working with ender diagnostics will help to further improve detection of the COVID-19 infection, increasing the safety and confidence of people travelling.

ender diagnostics specialises in isothermal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based test kits for laboratory and on-site diagnosis.

It has launched two CE-marked tests in Europe: ender LAB in June and ender MASS in August 2020.

The ender LAB test allows laboratories to directly detect SARS-CoV-2 on standard real-time PCR devices within 30 minutes of extraction of the viral RNA.

The company says this is significantly faster than commercially available PCR tests, which take several hours. ender MASS offers additional benefits by enabling detection in a simplified process, considerably reducing the workload for medical professionals and laboratories.

It is designed to enable on-site and pop-up labs to operate rapid testing in diverse settings, including travel-related locations such as airports and cruise ships.

FDA clearance for ender MASS, enabling on-site and pop-up labs to operate rapid testing for COVID-19, is expected this month.

Martin Knuchel, Lufthansa Group Airlines’ pandemic coordinator, said: “The safety and confidence of our passengers and employees is paramount for SWISS.

“The decision to adopt the fast, innovative and easy-to-use testing solutions developed by ender diagnostics further underlines our absolute commitment to make air travel as safe as possible.”

Latest figures show there have been 27 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, and around 881,000 deaths.

In Switzerland, there have been more than 44,000 confirmed cases and 1,733 deaths.