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Influenza is primarily diagnosed clinically. Based on the presentation of symptoms, clinicians make a diagnosis and provide the appropriate treatment recommendation. If diagnosed within 48 hours of the onset symptoms, treatment may consist of anti-influenza medication along with rest, hydration, and pain relief. The limitation of a clinical diagnosis is that the symptoms of influenza can present very similarly to other common infectious agents including Myocplasma pneumonia, adenovirus, and the virus responsible for the 2020 pandemic – COVID-19. In light of the significant consequences of a missed diagnosis of COVID-19, it may prove worthwhile to delineate the actual viral pathogen.
Tests available to diagnose influenza include a viral culture that takes 3-10 days, polymerase chain reaction that takes 1-8 hours, immunofluorescence assays that take 1-4 hours, rapid molecular assays that take 15-30 minutes, and rapid influenza antigen detection tests that take less than 15 minutes. In an outpatient setting where time is of the essence as it relates to appointment time and initiating treatment to reduce the length of illness, it is prudent to be able to quickly test and quickly receive results.
The BD Veritor Plus is a CLIA-waived office-based rapid antigen detection testing device. It has the ability to test multiple common upper respiratory infections including Flu A and B, Group A Strep, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and SARS-CoV-2 used to detect the coronavirus known as COVID-19. A nasopharyngeal swab is used to collect a specimen. The swab is then placed in the processing tube.
The clinician can decide to use one of two modes – walk away or analyze now. If the “walk away” mode is used, 3 drops from the processing tube are placed on the testing device. After 10 minutes the device is inserted in the BD Veritor and the results are displayed on the screen. If the “analyze now” mode is chosen, 3 drops from the processing tube are placed on the testing device that is immediately inserted into the machine. After 10 minutes the results will be displayed on the screen.
The BD Veritor allows for point of care testing and treatment foregoing a long delay and allowing prompt action. Rapid diagnostic results, wide availability, and ease of testing with devices such as the BD Veritor Plus have proven even more valuable during this time.