Tests could shorten MIQ time for travellers coming into Aotearoa

By Marena Mane

Pictor chief operating officer Howard Moore says new tests will be able to indicate whether a person has been vaccinated or has previously been infected with Covid-19, indicating if they have antibodies against the virus and do not pose a danger in entering the country.

Pictor, an Auckland-based biotechnology firm, is looking for participants for clinical trials for a test it thinks would cut MIQ time and increase vaccination usage efficiency internationally.

The company claims its Covid-19 antibody blood test can tell if someone has been vaccinated or if they've had Covid-19 before.

This might also help identify travellers at the border who are less of a threat and don't need to be isolated for two weeks.

People who are antibody positive, as long as they are not infected, are significantly safer, Moore says, and should have a greater chance of entering the country.

“People who have been previously infected only really need one dose of the vaccine. It can confirm those individuals that have been previously infected. Therefore, only one dose is required and in developing countries where vaccines are in short supply, this is invaluable,” he says.

A blood sample, according to Moore, provides more confirmation of vaccination than a vaccine certificate and is less intrusive than a nasal swab, especially for people who were given saline solution instead.

“The production of antibodies doesn't always occur exactly how it's intended. A blood test can absolutely confirm it’s successful.”

Moore says he welcomes people of all ages and ethnicities.

“We'd be very keen to reach out to churches, but also marae, we'd be willing to send out a phlebotomist, and support staff from Pictor so that volunteers could come to marae and be willing to donate and participate in the trial.”