Catching the Bug
A rapid test for influenza could prevent patient isolation and save money
Luke Turner | | Quick Read
The winter months are notorious for wreaking havoc with our immune systems – and draining resources in already overstretched hospitals. Incidence of influenza rockets during the cold season, affecting 5–10 percent of adults and 20–30 percent of children every year (1). Now, a rapid, PCR-based molecular test can diagnose 43 strains of influenza A and B and seven strains of respiratory syncytial virus (a leading cause of respiratory disease) within 20 minutes (2). By applying real-time PCR to a nasopharyngeal swab sample, the test could significantly reduce the unnecessary occupation of hospital beds and lead to more effective treatment for patients.
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