Fighting influenza with rapid molecular diagnostics
By making meaningful and actionable results available at the point of care, healthcare providers can quickly identify and treat people with influenza – improving patient management, protecting their communities, and reducing healthcare costs.
A global challenge
Seasonal influenza, commonly referred to as “flu” or “flu season”, is often unpredictable and varies in severity.
It is one of the most common infectious diseases and is easily spread from person to person. The influenza virus attacks an estimated 5-10% of adults and 20-30% of children globally and causes substantial levels of illness, hospitalization, and death.1
Even though the most effective way to prevent influenza disease outbreak is vaccination, outbreaks of seasonal influenza still occur. Because the symptoms of influenza overlap with those of many other viral upper respiratory tract infections, people are often treated without a formal diagnosis.
That’s why we developed the unique isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology found in the Alere™ i platform. The rapid, instrument-based, isothermal system for the qualitative detection of influenza provides molecular results within 15 minutes.
3 to 5 million cases worldwide of severe illness annually1
250,000 to 500,000 deaths annually1
Influenza-associated annual costs in US:
$10.4 billion annually in direct medical costs and $16.3 billion indirect costs2
Influenza can get anyone sick
Influenza symptoms begin abruptly, and are usually full blown within a few days of exposure, and include fever, sore throat, severe headache and overall body aches. For some people at high risk, influenza can cause severe illness or complications.4
George, a 68 year-old retired accountant, has been feeling unwell, with a sore throat and headache.
- High fever
- Dry cough and sore throat
- Body aches and headache
- Body chills
- Feeling tired and generally unwell
George is worried about his symptoms. He has asthma, which makes him at risk for additional complications with the flu.
If you know now, you can act now. Taking antivirals within the first 48 hours of first symptoms helped shorten the length of the flu by 30% (1.3 days).6, 7
Most people who get the flu treat themselves at home and often don't need to see a doctor. But, for those with complications, seeing a doctor right away and antiviral drugs within the first 48 hours after first symptoms appear may reduce the length of illness and help prevent more-serious problems.4
George goes to a local walk-in clinic after he starts noticing his symptoms. The doctor examines him, but does not order an influenza point of care test. George is sent home with instructions to get rest and drink plenty of fluids.
After a few days, George’s symptoms get worse and he has trouble breathing. His wife takes him to the hospital and his doctor orders a CLIA-waived Alere™ i Influenza A & B molecular test.
The challenge of diagnosing influenza
Since influenza is highly contagious, the last thing you want is for infectious people to linger in waiting rooms or out in the community, risking further infection of patients, medical staff, and others in the community.1
Confidence in the molecular result
Rapid diagnosis of influenza can lead to reduced hospital stays, reduced secondary complications, and reduced cost of hospital care.10, 11
Although conventional rapid influenza tests have a fast turnaround time and good specificity, the sensitivity is lacking.8
Rapid Molecular diagnostics, like the Alere™ i system, bridge the gap between accuracy and speed. Alere™ i is significantly faster than other molecular methods and more accurate than conventional rapid tests.
Molecular sensitivity in an actionable timeframe allows the prudent use of antibiotics and antivirals. Antibiotics are not effective against influenza, and early diagnosis of influenza can reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics.9
Timely and accurate diagnosis is essential for appropriate influenza treatment12
Rapid diagnostic tests with increased sensitivity are essential for the reliable detection of influenza A and B and enable immediate, effective treatment decisions.5, 10, 11,