College of American Pathologists
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  Rapid flu tests study—key findings in brief


CAP Today




January 2013
Feature Story

  • Analytical sensitivity varied across 11 rapid influenza diagnostic test kits as well as with different influenza viruses.
  • Most RIDTs detected viral antigens in samples with the highest influenza virus concentrations, but test performance for all RIDTs dropped significantly with decreasing virus concentration.
  • For highest virus concentrations, it is important to collect respiratory specimens within 24–72 hours of symptom onset.
  • Clinicians should follow best practices for specimen collection and timing to improve the clinical utility of RIDTs.
  • The evaluation does not represent RIDT performance in clinical settings.
  • RIDTs should be used cautiously for diagnostic, treatment, and infection control decisions in clinical settings.

—Anne Paxton


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