Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How accurate are rapid flu tests?

28.02.2012
New research could lead to more timely diagnosis and aid clinical management during flu season

A new study conducted by researchers from McGill University, the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC), and Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre, Montreal, has put the accuracy of rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) under the microscope.

The meta-analysis of 159 studies showed three key findings: that RIDTs can be used to confirm the flu, but not to rule it out; that test accuracy is higher in children than it is in adults; and that RIDTs are better at detecting the more common influenza A virus than they are at detecting influenza B.

The research, led by by Dr. Caroline Chartrand, Sainte-Justine Hospital staff pediatrician and researcher, was published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Early flu diagnosis is key for both optimal patient care and infection control. While viral culture and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests have been the gold-standards for detecting influenza, they can be expensive and the turn-around time for results range from one to 10 days. RIDTs attempt to overcome some of these problems. They are simple to use, give results in 15 to 30 minutes without having to be sent to a lab and in most cases, can be administered in routine clinical settings, like a doctor's office or emergency departments.

With more than 25 rapid flu tests on the market, doctors and healthcare providers need to make sense of the voluminous literature on these tests. "This is exactly why we needed a meta-analysis," said Dr. Madhukar Pai, senior author on the study, associate professor at McGill's Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, and a researcher at the RI MUHC. "So many papers have been published, especially since the H1N1 pandemic, but no one had synthesized this body of literature into one single cohesive piece. Our hope is that this work will help in informing future guidelines on the use of these tests."

What do the study results mean for patient care? "Our results suggest a case for routine implementation of these tests at the point-of-care, especially among children, during flu season," explained Dr. Chartrand, who was a McGill master's student when she conducted the research. "It would have to be shown in clinical practice, but the routine use of these tests could mean significant improvements in patient care, especially children. For example, if you know your patient has the flu, you might not need to run other tests. Maybe you'd be able to prescribe antiviral medication earlier. And perhaps flu patients would be triaged differently and sent home more quickly, which is great news for high-traffic emergency rooms and clinics during the flu season. But it is important to note that rapid flu tests can be falsely negative and therefore should not be used to rule out flu."

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians can die of the flu and its complications each year, depending on the severity of the season. The Centre for Disease Control in the U.S. puts their number anywhere between 3,000 and 49,000 annually.

"Influenza treatment is most effective when started early in the course of the illness. The ability to start specific influenza therapy sooner in persons at high risk for complications, such as pregnant women or individuals with heart disease, and who have a positive rapid test result, is a major benefit of these tests," said Dr. Timothy Brewer, Director of Global Health Programs at McGill and one of the study authors.

The study was funded in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Other collaborators include Dr. Mariska Leeflang, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam; and Dr. Jessica Minion, University of Alberta.

Allison Flynn | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>