Rapid influenza antigen tests have lower sensitivity compared to other methods, but newer assays control for some of the factors that may contribute to poor performance.
Nucleic acid amplified tests are now available that allow for the identification of infection with influenza and other respiratory viruses with high sensitivity in as little 1 hour.
The best way to clinically implement these assays remains unclear, and many different factors must be considered when choosing an optimal testing algorithm including: patient population tested, required turn-around-time, and testing-driven clinical interventions.
To help guide both laboratory and provider decision making, studies are urgently needed to determine the clinical utility, impact on outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of rapid antigen and nucleic acid amplification tests for influenza and other respiratory viruses in different patient groups and clinical settings.
Rapid Diagnosis of Influenza: State of the Art
Image credits: Genesis