As Christmas approaches, the music industry would struggle to offer a better gift than a healthy live stage.
Quick-working COVID test kits just might be the perfect stocking filler.
Rapid on-the-go antigen testing is expected to become widely available, once given the green light by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and road tested by the living industry.
An Australian company, Gardian, has developed test kits and software that could become a familiar sight in bars, clubs and concerts, as lockdown restrictions are lifted across the country.
TIO didn’t see the product in action, although Gardian can boast of having a long list of clients, including Opera Australia, Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, Bell Shakespeare and a host of TV and film production companies, from Fremantle Media to Endemol Shine, Warner Bros Movies and NEP Group.
Certainly, says Graham Gordon, CEO of Gardian, the company has had limited time with the contemporary live music scene.
But, as the company develops its CovClear rapid antigen test kit and the soon to be released Gardian Self Check app, “the opportunity to work closely with concerts, festivals and events will be even greater. high, ”he explains.
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According to the company, the process from the nasal swab to the result – which a door attendant would likely interpret – can be completed in three minutes, for its “ultra-sensitive” kit.
“It could be faster than the usual baggage check,” Gordon said.
The company also stocks kits with processing times of 10 and 15 minutes, according to its website.
These kits weren’t approved until Sept. 2, says Gordon, and the company has already had multiple conversations with federal and state health departments regarding the kits and software.
Vaccinations are at the heart of the Australian Arts Council’s #VaxTheNation, and #TakeYourSeats contemporary music industry education campaign.
Jabs are part of the solution to the live industry’s problems, but not the silver bullet.
“Asking someone to provide a double certificate of vaccination at a concert or to present a PCR test that was done three to five days before does not prevent any of these people from now on, when they come into the room. the room, to have COVID, ”notes Gordon.
Getting the result almost immediately “is the only way to ensure that the place is free from customers with COVID and to pass it on to others, who will then pass it on to hundreds after the concert,” he continues.
The TGA-approved CovClear tests would have a sensitivity of 98.5% and specificity of 100%, or an agreement of 99.25%.
There are others on the market. US-based Abbott is marketing its own product, priced at US $ 25 for its in-home testing and service.
It is unclear who should bear the cost of the on-site testing kits, and a mechanism should be put in place for refunds from punters who test positive overnight and cannot enter.
Test kits could be a “great tool for live performances,” notes Stephen Wade, CEO of Select Music and president of ALMBC, “and knowing that you’re not letting in someone who can potentially start a great -Streamer. “
Some questions remain. “If someone has returned a positive result, does that mean the place needs to be thoroughly cleaned,” Wade reflects. And if one bettor in the queue turns out to be positive, what does that mean for the others in the queue?
It’s the start, but it’s a start.