Faster Flu Test Wins FDA Approval


A new test to quickly and effectively distinguish between seasonal, H1N1, and other types of flu promises to improve pandemic preparedness.

Flu symptoms are easy to spot, but figuring out which strain of influenza is at work is often a complex and time consuming task. A new tool promises to streamline the process, providing public health officials with a faster diagnosis to help governments respond quickly and efficiently to the threat of a pandemic.

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the diagnostic kit uses a novel modular design, incorporating multiple tests that were previously performed separately. Combining them saves time and money, according to CDC’s Influenza Division director, Nancy Cox, PhD.

“This will lead to more efficient testing, with cost savings for the federal government and for state and local public health agencies,” said Dr. Cox, who is also Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza.

The kit uses specimens taken from the upper or lower respiratory tracts. The first module determines whether the virus is influenza type A or B. The second module classifies the virus by its subtype, such as H1N1, H3N2, or 2009 H1N1. The final module detects the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu. CDC plans to distribute the kit globally to qualified public health laboratories.

Frequent testing is a key element of pandemic preparedness—a lesson US officials learned during the rapid spread of the H1N1 virus in 2009. A thorough review of that incident “showed a clear need for better diagnostic tests,” said Nicole Lurie, MD, MPH, assistant secretary for preparedness and response in the US Department of Health and Human Services.

“In helping public health officials quickly identify seasonal flu as well as the flu viruses that could become pandemic, this kit can make a real difference,” Dr. Lurie said.

Related Videos
Laboratory test tubes and solution with stethoscope background | Image Credit: Shutter2U -
Image credit: Andrea Izzotti
Inflation Reduction Act is shown using the text and the US flag - Image credit: Andrii |
Pharmacy Interior | Image Credit: Tyler Olson -
Male pharmacist selling medications at drugstore to a senior woman customer | Image Credit: Zamrznuti tonovi -
Pharmacist assists senior woman in buying medicine in pharmacy - Image credit: Drazen |
Pharmacy, medicine and senior woman consulting pharmacist on prescription. Healthcare, shopping and elderly female in consultation with medical worker for medication box, pills or product in store - Image credit: C Daniels/ |
Image credit: fidaolga -
Pharmacists checking inventory at hospital pharmacy- Image credit: Jacob Lund |
Young male pharmacist giving prescription medications to senior female customer in a pharmacy | Image Credit: Zamrznuti tonovi -
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.