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15-minute Covid test trialled at Austria Center Vienna

New testing options could bolster the return of international meetings and events.

To date, it has been impossible to test all delegates quickly and efficiently as Covid-19 testing averages a few hours wait been swab and result.
To date, it has been impossible to test all delegates quickly and efficiently as Covid-19 testing averages a few hours wait been swab and result. Photo Credit:Getty

A test that can tell you whether you’re Covid-19 positive or negative in just 15 minutes has been trialled at Austria Center Vienna by 3,000 students from the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

"Through the rapid test pilot project, we want to do our bit to ensure that events which meet the highest possible safety standards can be held in Vienna in future. We are very grateful to the students of the Vienna University of Economics and Business for their support in this venture,” said Austria Center Vienna MD Susanne Baumann-Söllner.

The trail was rolled out after the center revealed that the direct impact on Vienna as a congress destination had been catastrophic with around 50 events due to be held at the centre, postponed or cancelled this year.

To date, it has been impossible to test all delegates quickly and efficiently as Covid-19 testing averages a few hours wait been swab and result.

However, the Austrian pharmaceutical products wholesaler Alpstar has now brought the NADAL Covid-19 Ag Rapid Test from German manufacturer nal von minden to the Austrian market, a system which delivers clear results in minutes.

The test is said to be highly accurate and easy to use. In the pilot project, throat swabs are taken by medics from the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund before the test is performed in a similar way to a pregnancy test, with a number of droplets containing the sample applied to a test cassette before the results are displayed on a chemical strip.

“At present, we can see that the industry is tentatively getting back on its feet, albeit at a highly regional level,” added Baumann-Söllner.

“So that large-scale international events can return to Vienna in the medium term, organisers need to have a high level of trust in the measures that have been put in place. No hygiene plan or testing procedure can provide full protection from Covid-19. But we all firmly believe that rapid tests represent a major step in the right direction and could quickly go on to become the new standard.

“We want this pilot project to show the industry what new options are available and provide targeted support for organisers.”

This article first appeared in Meetings & Incentive Travel.