Four-in-one rapid test looks for Covid, flu and RSV simultaneously
Rapid PCR test that detects Covid, flu and RSV at the same time and gives results in half an hour could be rolled out to NHS this winter
- QuantuMDx launched its Q-POC rapid PCR test to detect coronavirus last year
- The company has updated the capabilities of the device to test for influenza A and B, and RSV
- It is in talks with a number of NHS trusts to roll out testing during the autumn and winter.
A rapid four-in-one test that checks for covid, two strains of flu and another common winter virus could be rolled out across the NHS.
The test uses PCR technology refined during the Covid pandemic and can detect Covid, Flu A and B, as well as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) within 35 minutes.
But unlike Covid PCRs, samples don’t need to be sent to a lab for analysis, instead producing a result on the spot.
Other multivirus tests can take up to four days to return a result and often require specialized training to use.
Known as Q-POC, the new device is made by the Newcastle-based biotech company QuantuMDx and was partially funded by the government.
Its developer is in talks with several NHS trusts to implement testing during the autumn and winter, when seasonal viruses are expected to resurface.
They can cost up to £20,000 per device, depending on contracts with homes and hospitals.
A 35-minute rapid test for two types of flu based on technology developed for Covid has been launched to ease pressures on the health service this winter.
QuantuMDx launched its Q-POC rapid PCR test, which is as accurate as a standard PCR, to detect the coronavirus last year.
Q-POC can also be operated by anyone, rather than specially trained personnel like other multi-virus tests.
You can test all three new viruses and Covid, which have similar symptoms, at the same time.
The device could free up the capacity of the NHS by avoiding putting patients in Covid isolation when they don’t have the virus.
NHS rules mean anyone suspected of having that virus must still be put in a segregated room.
Additionally, QuantuMDx said the device can detect if someone has been infected with Covid and the flu at the same time, which would put them at four times the risk of needing a ventilator than coronavirus infection alone.
A mid-nasal or nose and throat swab is taken with a soft swab and mixed in buffer, dispensed into a sealed cassette, which in turn is inserted into the Q-POC.
After 35 minutes, a separate diagnostic result is provided for each of the 4 target diseases.
The sample is then tested following the same procedure as PCR tests, which identify certain genetic material to determine if a virus is present.
Tests conducted by the manufacturer suggest that it can detect both influenza types and RSV in 100 percent of infected patients, as well as Covid in 93.6 of those who have it.
It correctly identifies negative tests for all people without influenza A or Covid, 98.9 percent of those with influenza B, and 99.2 percent of those with RSV.
Some current rapid flu tests have cost the NHS up to £125,000 per machine and take up much more space, although they can process eight samples at once.
Testing machines vary across the NHS, with deals made by individual hospital trusts.
Others take up to two hours to get results, meaning patients will need to be isolated for longer than necessary.
The Q-POC devices were partially funded by the Government, with a £16m grant awarded to help their UK manufacturing programme.
It has already been approved for use and was launched yesterday, with its deployment in the health service subject to negotiations.
Jonathan O’Halloran, CEO of QuantuMDx, told MailOnline that the new technology could help ease pressures on the health service this winter.
He said: ‘The recent Covid pandemic highlighted the need for rapid, high-quality PCR panels to accurately diagnose infectious diseases, so I am pleased to announce the launch of this new respiratory PCR panel.
“As the coming winter is likely to bring parallel pressure from these viruses, the rapid and accurate on-demand PCR testing offered by this new assay on the Q-POC platform has the potential to provide clinicians with an optimal solution for the control of respiratory infections.