Quest Diagnostics' Focus business, which has a track record of being first to market with new laboratory testing services for emerging infectious diseases, developed and, in May 2009, launched the laboratory developed test to help offload an expected backlog of testing from public health laboratories. In the U.S., public health labs employ the CDC's rRT-PCR test, which the FDA authorized for emergency use in April 2009. Public health labs may use the CDC test to determine if certain high-risk patients who test positive for influenza A virus by commercial tests are infected with the pandemic flu virus.
Since Focus Diagnostics began to perform its laboratory developed test at its Cypress, CA, laboratory two months ago, orders placed by physicians for patients suspected of being infected with the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus increased dramatically before peaking in late June. While test volume has since declined, it remains more than 30 times higher than the company's typical rate of influenza virus testing in July.
Of those samples tested by Focus Diagnostics, approximately three fourths for patients between the ages of five and 20 years have tested positive for the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. By comparison, positivity rates in adults 21 to 40 years of age have averaged approximately 49 percent over the past two months. Adults 41 to 60 years of age have experienced positivity rates of 36 percent, while those 61 to 80 years of age have experienced positivity rates of approximately 14 percent.
"Our data are consistent with CDC data suggesting that this pandemic flu virus is disproportionately affecting children and young adults, as compared to older adults," Jay M. Lieberman, M.D., medical director, Focus Diagnostics, said. "In fact, almost 60 percent of all positive results identified by our test have been in children 18 or younger.
"In addition, our data, consistent with CDC da
|SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated|
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