Background: Timely detection of influenza viruses is required to facilitate infection control measures and appropriate patient management. The Alere™ i Influenza A&B assay for detection of viral RNA and multianalyte mariPOC(®) test for detection of viral antigens enable rapid detection of influenza viruses with little hands-on time.
Objectives: To evaluate the performance of the Alere i Influenza A&B assay and the mariPOC test in comparison to the Xpert(®) Flu A/B assay and laboratory-developed real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
Study design: A total of 140 and 108 nasopharyngeal specimens were analysed for evaluation of the Alere i and mariPOC, respectively.
Results: The sensitivity and specificity of the Alere i Influenza A&B assay for detection of influenza A virus was 80.0% and 98.1%, and for influenza B virus 45.2% and 98.2%, respectively. For the mariPOC test, a sensitivity and specificity of 53.1% and 98.7%, respectively, for detection of influenza A virus was achieved.
Conclusions: The mariPOC test proved insensitive for detection of influenza A virus and therefore unsuitable for individual patient diagnosis without confirmatory testing. In contrast, the Alere i Influenza A&B assay was reasonably sensitive and specific for detection of influenza A and B virus, although decreased detection of specimens with low viral load was observed particularly for detection of influenza B virus. Taken together with its rapidity and ease of use, the Alere i influenza A&B assay is a welcome alternative to immunochromatographic rapid influenza detection tests and may provide timely results that enable appropriate patient care and management of patient flow during high-prevalence seasons.
Keywords: Alere i; Influenza; POC; Rapid antigen detection; Real-time RT-PCR; mariPOC.
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