Evaluation of a new, rapid, simple test for the detection of influenza virus

Juan Carlos Hurtado, Maria Mar Mosquera, Elisa de Lazzari, Esteban Martínez, Nuria Torner, Ricard Isanta, Patricia de Molina, Tomás Pumarola, Maria Angeles Marcos, Jordi Vila Estape

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28 Citations (Scopus)


© Hurtado et al. Background: Influenza virus infections are responsible for significant morbidity and mortality in both pediatric and adult populations worldwide. Rapid and accurate diagnosis of influenza is necessary for appropriate patient management during the influenza season and for optimal utilization of anti-influenza therapy. We prospectively tested the accuracy of a simple and rapid diagnostic method. Methods: Ninety-eight samples (nasal and pharyngeal swabs) from patients with upper respiratory tract infection symptoms who presented to primary healthcare centres in Barcelona (Spain) were prospectively analyzed. The samples were collected as part of influenza surveillance program. Samples that had enough volume to make the new test after aliquoting the amount needed to perform routine tests were included. None of the samples were pre-selected as a result of their status in relation to influenza virus. Samples were analyzed by in-house real-time PCR and Alere™ i Influenza A & B (Alere™ i), which uses isothermal amplification of nucleic acids for the qualitative detection of influenza A and B in nasal swabs transported in viral transport media. The two techniques were compared by positive percent agreement (PPA) and negative percent agreement (NPA). Statistical analysis was performed with Stata. Results: Of the 98 samples analysed 90 were concordant; 46 (46.9%) were positive and 44 (44.9%) were negative. Five samples showed invalid results with the Alere™ i test and could be not re-tested due to insufficient sample volume and were not included in the final statistical analysis. In the 93 remaining samples, the Alere™ i test showed 97% of accuracy having correctly classified 90 samples. We obtained discordant results in 3 samples (3%). The PPA was 93.8% for influenza A and 94.1% for influenza B, and NPA was 100% for influenza A and influenza B virus. In addition, the Alere™ i was very rapid (15 minutes or less) and extremely easy to use. Conclusions: The Alere™ i test provided a good correlation compared to the real-time PCR test for the diagnosis of influenza. Since this method can be performed in minutes, it allows immediate, accurate clinical decisions to prescribe appropriate antiviral treatment or isolation of patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article number44
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2015


  • Influenza Virus A and B
  • Isothermal amplification
  • Rapid test
  • Real time PCR


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