b'OPERATIONS YYZ 63and implementation. We are very proud ofsays Qadir. This capability is absolutely the work were doing, says MacIntosh.necessary for the detection, forewarning He characterizes the initiative asand prevention of future COVID-19 like an effort to leverage technology andpandemics and functions as an early innovation to try to ensure a safe, healthywarning system.environment for passengers and staff. ButAs of early 2023, wastewater samples it also has a broader mission to look forfrom YYZ aligned closely with results seen ways to innovate and to help the aviationin other municipalities. Thats what weve industry get back on its feet, he adds.found so farnothing shocking, reports Like so many airports around the globe,MacIntosh. YYZ was hit hard by the COVID pandemic. Dovetailing EffortsTech Forward The airports 300-square-foot lab was The airport is working closely with theconstructed in 2021 for a previous COVID-National Research Council and its privaterelated trial and was modified to support partners to set up an innovative, leading- the current wastewater testing pilot. The edge surveillance system.previous project, also conducted with The multifaceted testing processsupport from the National Research Council, begins with sample collection. Eachran from late 2020 to early 2021. It involved week, autosamplers in the sewer linesswabbing passengers nostrils to help of the airports two terminals gather 15determine whether such onsite testing and wastewater samples. Specimens are alsoanalysis could work in a high-volume airport gathered from a triturator that processessetting. YYZ served 12.7 million passengers waste from incoming aircraft.in 2021, and the 300 to 500 swab tests were performed daily during the trial.Next, LuminUltra and Kraken Sense prepare the samples for testing. LuminUltraIn the end, swabbing strategies testing is a biological diagnostic testing companyduring the trial were deemed to be too headquartered in New Brunswick; Krakenintrusive and time-consuming because Sense is a pathogen detection devicethey created delays for passengers. developer based in Oakville, ON. TheNothing worked in high-enough volume, two companies use a technology calledMacIntosh summarizes. Instead, the polymerase chain reaction, commonlyproject identified that testing would not known as PCR, to identify SARS-COV-2work inside the airport environment, and and its known variants.GTAA officials responded accordingly. Fusion Genomics,Launching the subsequent wastewater a moleculartesting project required an unexpected diagnostics companyamount of administrative work to organize Authority (GTAA) is supporting the effortbased in Vancouver,the process and modify the existing lab by providing its facilities, staff time andtakes a differentfor a new purpose and participating project management resources. Threeapproach: targetedcompanies. When we started to put all Canadian companiesLuminUltra,metagenomicof the moving parts together, we found Kraken Sense and Fusion Genomicsaresequencing.that it was more complicated than we providing technologies, processing andPresident andDR. MOHAMMAD QADIR envisioned, MacIntosh recalls. The ideas analysis. The pilot project is scheduledChief Scientific Officer Mohammad Qadirand concept were relatively simple, but it to end on March 30, 2023, and then theexplains that using its ONETest product,all took us more time and energy to get to project team will assess its performance.the company can detect and measure notwhere we wanted to go. Dwayne MacIntosh,only known COVID strains, but also novelThat said, he reports that stakeholders GTAA director ofor unexpected strains and other respiratorybanded together, and the pilot is running Safety and Security,viruses.smoothly so far. Most importantly, the new is heading up theAs far as we know, this is the onlyprocess is speeding up test results, which initiative, with keyone of its kind in the world at an airport,was a key reason for establishing an onsite assistance fromcapable of testing and detecting all knownlab. Typically, wed take this wastewater colleagues Brittanyand novel upper respiratory viruses,and send it off to a lab to get the results Maxwell and Jeffreyin 48 to 72 hours or longer, he explains. Barrow for the launchDWAYNE MACINTOSH particularly SARS-COV-2 and its variants, AirportImprovement.comMarch | April 2023'