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08 June 2021

KCL TEST piloted in Lanzarote

Researchers from King’s have taken part in a pilot test to make Lanzarote the first safe tourist destination in the world.

A COVID testing hub at Bush House

The pilot, known as ‘Lanzarote Covid Safe’ and in partnership with Cabildo of Lanzarote and with the participation of researchers from King’s, Alastria, IN2 and Continuam, began on the 14th of May and lasted for 4 days.

A total of sixty national and international tourists, and additional staff who looked after the group in accommodation, transport and leisure facilities, took 380 non-invasive PCR-Queen tests, which combine saliva testing with QR reporting of results employing blockchain. The tests were based on the King's KCL TEST scientific study where regular saliva tests are carried out on students and staff at the University.

The test is highly effective in detecting the virus and easy to use for the user: a non-invasive PCR of saliva, which provides results in a few hours and with the same reliability as the nasopharyngeal PCR.

The model tested in the pilot involves taking samples from participating individuals to track the tourist throughout the entire process, and ensure all personnel in contact are also tested. So far, there have been no positive cases reported from participants during and after the pilot.

"In highly mobile environments, such as a university or a tourist destination, we have been able to verify that the PCR-Queen test is the test that offers maximum reliability in terms of biosecurity and speed of detection. Furthermore, as it is non-invasive, it can be performed easily and regularly, making it ideal for use with both tourists and staff in the sector.

Dr Rocío Martínez-Nunez, KCL TEST Academic Lead from the School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences

The non-invasive saliva PCRs are analysed in laboratories accredited by the health authorities and are uploaded to a simple application that allows tourists to receive a certificate with the results on their smartphones via a QR code, or to consult it on a website.

"We want to place Lanzarote at the forefront as an internationally pioneering safe destination. Since the beginning of the pandemic we have been working tirelessly to guarantee the tourist markets that Lanzarote is a safe island," said María Dolores Corujo, president of the Cabildo of Lanzarote.


In this story

Rocio  Martinez-Nunez

Reader in RNA Biology and Immunity