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 The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

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: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>