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New flu swab test for patients with severe respiratory conditions

The development of a flu swab test could lead to personalised medicine which plays a role in fight against antibiotic resistance, according to researcher Tristan Clark.
Flu_Virus_tile_Getty.jpg

Researchers in Southampton have developed a swab test that can diagnose flu in patients with severe respiratory conditions, leading to shorter antibiotics courses and less time in hospital.

The test, which can be carried out in emergency departments and acute medical units, involves processing swabs immediately on a portable device as well as a rapid molecular test.

2,462

people were admitted to intensive care and high dependency units in the UK between October 2015 and April 2016 for influenza, with 209 deaths.

Source: Public Health England

Samples do not need to be sent to a laboratory and results can be delivered in an hour rather than days.

It was trialled at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust in 2015

...

Researchers in Southampton have developed a swab test that can diagnose flu in patients with severe respiratory conditions, leading to shorter antibiotics courses and less time in hospital. 


A new swab test can diagnose patients with severe respiratory conditions in an hour,
rather than days. Picture: Getty 

The test, which can be carried out in emergency departments and acute medical units, involves processing swabs immediately on a portable device as well as a rapid molecular test.

2,462 

people were admitted to intensive care and high dependency units in the UK between October 2015 and April 2016 for influenza, with 209 deaths. 

Source: Public Health England

Samples do not need to be sent to a laboratory and results can be delivered in an hour rather than days. 

It was trialled at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust in 2015 and 2016. A total of 720 patients with acute respiratory illnesses including pneumonia, exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease took part. 

Right treatment, faster

Half of the patients were given the point-of-care test, while the other half received standard care. 

The researchers found that patients who had been given the test got the right treatment for their condition faster.  

University of Southampton associate professor in infectious diseases Tristan Clark said: 'Tests like this, which enable tailored and personalised medicine, have a major role to play in the fight against antibiotic resistance.'


Clark et al (2017) Routine molecular point-of-care testing for respiratory viruses in adults presenting to hospital with acute respiratory illness (ResPOC): a pragmatic, open-label, randomised controlled trial. Lancet Respiratory Medicine. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(17)30120-0

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