• Rapid Flu Test Helps Target Avian Flu

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Rapid Flu Test Helps Target Avian Flu

Feb 14 2006

A rapid test for the detection of influenza type A and B viruses is now available from Oxoid Limited. The Xpect? Flu A & B test not only detects infuenza A and B viruses from clinical samples within 15 minutes, but it also distinguishes between these two virus types.

Distinguishing between influenza types A and B helps virologists to target investigations for the H5N1 strain (a type A virus), which is responsible for the avian flu epidemic that is currently sweeping through poultry and wild bird populations in many Asian countries1,2. Although H5N1 is principally an avian virus, cases of human infection have been reported in Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia 1,3,4. Most cases are due to contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces, however a few cases of human to human transmission may have occurred3. Because of this, and the ability of influenza viruses to change (drift and shift), many experts believe that we are on the verge of a serious flu pandemic1,2,3.

Virologists and health officials around the world are working to ensure that countries are as prepared as they can be for the possibility of widespread human infection. According to a UN spokesman, the size and impact of a flu pandemic will depend on how quickly it is detected2.

Xpect? Flu A & B detects and distinguishes the type A influenza virus from type B in just 15 minutes, and with 100% specificity5, directly from nose or throat swabs. This simple lateral flow test is extremely easy to perform and interpret, giving virologists quick and valuable information with which to target further investigations and patient care. For samples that may require transportation, a wide variety of transport media are suitable. Furthermore, samples can be refrigerated and tested within 72 hours or frozen at -20°C or below and tested within 6 months.

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