ED Accreditation Update

Newly OK'd test detects seasonal, novel flu viruses

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new test to diagnose human flu infections, including the avian flu virus (H5N1), which scientists fear could cause a pandemic.

The device uses genetic material from a patient's nose or throat to detect flu virus and differentiate between seasonal and novel influenza. Results can be available within four hours, and the system can test multiple samples at once. The test, called the Human Influenza Virus Real-Time RT-PCR Detection and Characterization Panel, was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and will be available to CDC-qualified laboratories for diagnosing influenza this fall. (Editor's note: For more information, go to news.yahoo. com/s/afp/20081001/pl_afp/ushealthfludetection.)