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Large-Scale Covid-Screening Trial at Austria Center Vienna

Could a new 15-minute test be the magic bullet to get large-scale events running again?

The eyes of the convention industry are turned towards Austria Center Vienna this week, where a new rapid-testing technique to detect Covid-19 infection is being piloted on 3,000 students from the Vienna University of Economics and Business. While large-scale attendee testing has been impractical because of the time it takes to return the results, this new procedure provides an answer within 15 minutes, with no lab analysis required.

Vienna University of Economics and Business traditionally brings new students to Austria Center Vienna for the first lecture of its business administration course. It was able to continue the practice this year, but with the new protocols in effect this past Wednesday and Thursday: Students lined up to have a medic swab their throat, treat the sample, and place it on a chemical strip. After that, the students took their test cassette and waited for the result to show. Much like a pregnancy test, the cassette reveals a single line if the test is negative for Covid, and two lines for a positive test.

The procedure, called NADAL Covid-19 Ag Rapid Test, was created by German manufacturer nal von minden and brought to Austria by pharmaceutical products wholesaler Alpstar.

“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 organizers,” said Susanne Baumann-Söllner, managing director of the Austria Center Vienna, the country’s largest conference center with 24 halls, 180 meeting rooms, and 280,000 square feet of exhibition space.



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