New Paper Strip Test Simplifies Flu Diagnosis

New Paper Strip Test Simplifies Flu Diagnosis
New Paper Strip Test Simplifies Flu Diagnosis. Credit | iStock

United States: Researchers have discovered a new paper strip test that can treat the flu quickly and cheaply. It can tell if someone has influenza A or B, as well as more serious strains like H1N1 and H3N2. The test aims to help doctors respond faster to outbreaks and provide better care for people with flu infections worldwide

Development and Adaptation

Cameron Myhrvold, an assistant professor at Princeton University in New Jersey and co-senior researcher, stated, “In the end, we hope these tests will be as simple as rapid antigen tests” used to test for COVID.

 According to experts, the test recognizes particular viral RNA sequences in samples using enzymes that have been genetically altered.

 According to experts, the method was initially employed to screen for the COVID coronavirus and then to differentiate between the Omicron and Delta versions.

 In 2022, the researchers started modifying the test to identify the influenza virus in order to make a screening kind of a tool that could be utilized in clinics or the field rather than hospitals or sophisticated diagnostic labs.

Potential for Enhanced Clinical Use

Co-lead researcher Ben Zhang, a Harvard Medical School medical student, stated, “Using a paper strip readout instead of expensive fluorescence machinery is a big advancement, not only in terms of clinical care but also for epidemiological surveillance purposes.”

 Although the test may be completed in around 90 minutes at ambient temperature, researchers hope it can ultimately yield findings in as little as 15 minutes.

Targeting Resistant Strains

Additionally, the test is capable of differentiating various flu strains. This may make it easier for medical professionals to detect strains resistant to antiviral medications like oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

Future Directions

 In a media release from the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, co-lead study author Jon Arizti-Sanz stated, “Being able to tease apart what strain or subtype of influenza is infecting a patient has repercussions both for treating them and public health interventions.”

 According to Arizti-Sanz, the researchers are currently attempting to modify the test so that it can detect swine and bird flu strains that pose a hazard to human health.


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