Coming Soon… Faster and more accessible PCR testing for travel

Great news for the travel sector as Katalyst Laboratories is making reliable COVID-19 PCR testing faster and more accessible for holidaymakers for Summer 2021

There are several different COVID-19 testing systems available on the market, from Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) and Lateral Flow (also called Antigen Tests). However, PCR is the “Gold Standard” against which every new test is measured. This is because PCR tests have the lowest levels of false negatives and false positives. PCR tests are accepted throughout the world by all countries for travel certification purposes and occupational health.

The travel sector is particularly sensitive to both false-negative and false-positive results. A false-negative result could lead to an entire flight being infected and having to self-isolate when they arrive at their destination. A false positive may mean a family is wrongly denied a well-earned holiday, leading to a very bad customer experience and insurance claims. Given that travel is only just restarting from a year-long hiatus, the stakes could not be higher for airlines and tour operators.

Ideally, PCR tests would be used to test holidaymakers before the day of departure. The problem is that PCR is a laboratory-based test. This not only makes it costly, but it also means results are usually only available within 48 hours or 24 hours for a very expensive express service. Given that many destinations demand a test result from just 48 or 72 hours before departure (see here for list of travel restrictions), it means that the timing of a PCR test is crucial, and in reality, PCR is just too slow and too expensive for most holidaymakers. The good news is that this is all about to change!

Katalyst is working hard with leading European manufacturers to make PCR testing faster and more accessible. We will soon be announcing a new partnership and a new rapid, point-of-care PCR test. This new test, which is also currently being rolled out to the NHS, will be available at a select UK airport from this month and is likely to be available at several UK airports and ports as the summer holiday season begins. This new point-of-care PCR test has a processing time of about one-hour and means that holidaymakers can take a test one or two days before departure and be guaranteed to get the result on the same day as the test. This means holidaymakers can arrive at the airport or port on their day of departure knowing they can board the plane or ferry.

Watch this space!

If you are looking for rapid and reliable COVID testing for ports and airports, you can contact us as