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Avian (Bird) Flu: Is There a Role for Rapid Tests?

Binax NOW Flu A, QuickVue, SAS, and Zstat) are CLIA-waived. For convenience, products are available to test for both influenza A and B. For those who desire a product previously validated on H5N1, there is peer-reviewed literature on the Directigen assays (Yuen KY et al, Lancet 1998, 351:467-471; Chan KH et al, J Clin Microbiol 2002, 40:1675-1680). The product insert of FLU OIA describes favorable in-house results for H5N1.

As worldwide authorities respond to the new threat of avian flu, further improvements and information on rapid tests will accumulate. Meanwhile, if used thoughtfully and selectively, they may provide precious advance notice for laboratories, hospitals, and public health departments.


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