Comparison of the performance of the rapid antigen detection actim Influenza A&B test and RT-PCR in different respiratory specimens

J Med Microbiol. 2009 Mar;58(Pt 3):365-370. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.004358-0.


Nowadays, influenza antigen detection test kits are used most frequently to detect influenza A or B virus to establish the diagnosis of influenza rapidly and initiate appropriate therapy. This study was conducted to evaluate the performance of the actim Influenza A&B test (Medix Biochemica). Overall, 473 respiratory specimens were analysed in the actim Influenza A&B test and the results were compared with those from an RT-PCR assay; 461 of these samples originated from paediatric patients aged 7 weeks to 6.5 years either with influenza-related symptoms or from the intensive care unit, and 12 samples originated from adults with underlying lung or haematological diseases. Diagnosis of influenza A or B virus could be established using the actim Influenza A&B test (9/473 samples for influenza A virus and 6/473 for influenza B virus). RT-PCR revealed 23 patients with influenza virus (13/473 for influenza A virus and 10/473 for influenza B virus). The sensitivity and specificity of the actim Influenza A&B test were 65 and 100 % compared with the RT-PCR assay. However, 32 external quality assessment samples containing seven different strains of influenza A subtypes H1N1 and H3N2 and the avian H5N1 were detected correctly by the actim Influenza A&B test. No cross-reactivity to a range of bacterial, fungal and other viral pathogens was observed. In conclusion, the actim Influenza A&B test is reliable for positive results due to its high specificity. Nevertheless, negative results from this test need to be confirmed by a more sensitive assay because of the low sensitivity observed with diagnostic samples.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Viral / isolation & purification*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross Reactions
  • DNA, Complementary / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Influenza A virus / genetics
  • Influenza A virus / immunology
  • Influenza A virus / isolation & purification*
  • Influenza B virus / genetics
  • Influenza B virus / immunology
  • Influenza B virus / isolation & purification*
  • Influenza, Human / diagnosis*
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Viral
  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA, Viral
  • RNA, Viral