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New Test Screens For Flu and Other Viruses

MONDAY, Jan. 21 -- A real-time test for four common respiratory viruses has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The ProFlu+ test provides results within as few as three hours.

Other respiratory virus tests are fast but not as accurate or are accurate but not as fast, the FDA said.

The ProFlu+ test can analyze a single sample for influenza A virus, influenza B virus, and respiratory syncytial virus A and B (RSV). These viruses can cause influenza, pneumonia and an infection of the airways called bronchiolitis. All the viruses are leading causes of lower respiratory tract infections.

"Antiviral drugs are most effective when initiated within the first two days of symptoms," Dr. Daniel Schultz, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a prepared statement. "This new test, which is part of the new era of molecular medicine, can help the medical community quickly determine whether a respiratory illness is caused by one of these four viruses and initiate the appropriate treatment."

The ProFlu+ test is made by Prodesse, Inc. of Milwaukee.

More information

The FDA has more about this approval.

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Posted: January 2008