Fortress Diagnostics launch the Influenza COVID-19 Ag Combo Rapid Test
Following the success of their rapid test range for COVID-19, our manufacturing partner Fortress Diagnostics has launched a rapid test which detects Influenza A, Influenza B and COVID-19 from a single nasal swab.
The new Combo Rapid test uses the same COVID-19 test approved by Porton Down and registered for sale in the UK combined with proven Influenza test technology. The test will provide the healthcare practitioner with results in just 15 minutes.
How are the COVID-19 and Flu viruses similar?
According to WHO COVID-19 and Flu both cause respiratory disease, albeit from a different virus, and they can both cause a spectrum of illness from asymptomatic to severe.
Most critically both viruses are spread by contact, droplets and fomites (such as clothes, utensils and furniture). This means that public health measures such as hand hygiene and sneezing into your elbow are effective in preventing the spread of both viruses.
How are the COVID-19 and Flu viruses different?
There is little pre-existing immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-COV-2, according to John Hopkins, which means that many more people are susceptible. As a result of vaccination programmes and previous infection there is a much higher level of immunity to the flu virus in the population.
COVID-19 also has higher rates of disease severity and mortality in all age groups except under 12s. This in turn creates a greater burden on healthcare systems, especially whilst research is still determining adequate treatment and the vaccination programme is ongoing.
Why is it critical to differentiate between Flu and Covid-19?
As with all infectious diseases it is important to treat the patient, and reduce the spread in the general population.
Even if most people with COVID-19 only get “mild” symptoms, they could still transmit the virus to other people, therefore it is critical to break the transmission chain. This is especially important because of the higher rate of disease severity and mortality in order to reduce burden on healthcare systems.
A rapid differentiation between Flu and COVID-19 could positively impact patient management and infection control to be a decisive tool in managing the healthcare burden in what is traditionally a challenging time of year.