New Quicker Test Developed for Respiratory Viruses

A new and more efficient test for respiratory viruses has recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The procedure, which uses the ProFlu+ device, simultaneously detects four respiratory ailments that often lead to influenza or pneumonia.

In as little as three hours, ProFlu+ tests for the presence of Influenza A and B viruses, as well as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) A and B. The most common conditions resulting from these viruses are the flu, bronchiolitis and pneumonia. The three hour test is quicker than conventional tests, and administration of medication and treatment for these conditions is best done in the early stages of contamination. This fact makes the ProFlu+ test a valuable new tool for physicians.

Influenza A is the most serious flu strain, and is often responsible for major outbreaks. Up to 20% of the U.S. population contracts Influenza A per year, leading to on average 36,000 deaths. Bronchiolitis is an often serious respiratory ailment that effects babies and toddlers, and at times results in death. RSV is often responsible for bronchiolitis. Pneumonia is contracted by millions of U.S. people per year, mostly elderly (over 65 years of age) and infants.

The ProFlu+ test is not considered to be a deffinitive test on its own, as the FDA say it “is more accurate when used with other diagnostics, such as patient data, bacterial, or viral cultures, and X-rays, in diagnosing a patient. Positive results do not rule out other infection or co-infection and the virus detected may not be the specific cause of the disease or patient symptoms.”

Nonetheless, the test now gives doctors a great option in quickly and accurately diagnosing whether a respiratory ailment is caused by one of the four viruses mentioned above. This would enable the prompt administration of the appropriate treatment, leading to quicker recovery and presumably fewer fatalities.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: FDA News Release. January 2008.