Flu illness can cause death especially in children and elderly. Naturally quick recognition of what is the cause of an illness is critical to stopping any spread. Flu pandemic is a real possibility that has prompted development of a point of care device to rapidly diagnosis an Influenza illness.

Reported in the Journal Analytical Chemistry, this simple hopefully low cost device could allow for office testing with a simple color change determining positive or negative. No needle stick, just a swab from the nose, put swab in device twirl for 10 seconds to release any virus present and then wait. At present 35 minutes later a 70% accurate result for Influenza A is noted by your naked eye. Not costly @$6. for this disposable device.

There is antiviral treatment for Influenza A illness but it must be given early in the illness. This antiviral drug does not work for other viral illnesses.

At present multiple tests are available for ‘rapid’ testing: Prodesse ProFlu+/ProFAST+ (PFlu/PFAST), FilmArray Respiratory Panel (RP), cobas Influenza A/B test (cIAB), and Xpert Flu (Xpt). However these require specialty labs and time. an example, Xpt takes 70 min.- FilmArray Respiratory Panel tests for 17 viruses and 3 bacteria takes about an hour on special device.

Watch what your healthcare provider offers you next.