Flu Tests Not Accurate, Fast Enough

Recent studies published by the CDC and The Journal of Clinical Virology have found that current rapid flu tests aren't sensitive enough and fail to detect the H1N1 virus more than half of the time. The CDC study found that three rapid tests detect 40% to 69% of H1N1 cases, while the tests were able to detect 80% of seasonal flu cases. It's important to point out here that these tests don't specifically detect the swine flu--they simply indicate whether the flu is present.

August 10, 2009

1 Min Read
Flu Tests Not Accurate, Fast Enough

However, there is concern over whether a false negative reading (due to the low sensitivity of the tests) could make doctors decide against prescribing antiflu medications.The CDC has developed a swine flu test, using instruments manufactured by Life Technologies Inc. (Carlsbad, CA). Although this test can be used in all 50 states to detect the H1N1 virus, it is much more expensive than rapid flu tests. DxNA (St. George, UT) is working on a polymerase chain reaction test that can provide detection of the swine flu within 45 minutes. The company requested that FDA grant an emergency use authorization for the test. DxNA hopes to have it approved for use by the winter.

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