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Rapid Flu Tests May Prove Especially Helpful This Season

o considered moderately complex by the College of American Pathologists, but are not currently CLIA-waived. These firms include:

Becton-Dickinson, Franklin Lakes, N.J., which produces the BD Directigen Flu A+B test kit, which the company says is the first rapid assay on the market that distinguishes influenza A viral antigens from those of influenza B. Specimen types that the kit can assess include nasopharyngeal wash, nasopharyngeal aspirate, nasopharyngeal swab, lower nasal swab, throat swab and bronchoalveolar lavage. Test results time is 15 minutes.

Thermo Electron Corp., Waltham, Mass., produces the FLU OIA test, a high-performance assay for the undifferentiated diagnosis of Influenza A and B. in just over 15 minutes. Assay advantages include superior performance with mucoid samples, specimen flexibility,and performance equivalent to 14-day viral culture, thus decreasing overall diagnostic costs by making additional ancillary testing unnecessary.

Finally, REMEL, Inc., Lenexa, Kan., produces Xpect Flu A & B kits for rapid chromatographic immunoassay for Influenza A and Influenza B viral antigens. This product is packaged in lots of 20.

Along with early detection, CDC is issuing interim recommendations for the use of antiviral medications during the 2004-05 season: amantadine and rimantadine for chemoprophylaxis and oseltamivir and zanamivir for treatment. While these medications provide welcome resources in trying circumstances, all carry some risk of side-effects and their supplies are limited in many areas
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