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 Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>