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24th September 2019  Content supplied by: Cepheid

Point-of-Care Solution for Rapid Detection of Influenza

The GeneXpert System provides an efficient and reliable means to accurately diagnose flu and RSV.  This can benefit both turnaround times and patient management, while also helping to reduce the costs associated with winter outbreaks.

Cepheid’s GeneXpert® System and Xpert® Xpress Flu/RSV test cartridge offer on-demand, reference-quality molecular test results within 30 minutes.

This easy to use and compact benchtop system uses four self-contained, independent modules to provide flexible, high throughput testing.  Together with a fully automated workflow and test cartridges that can be stored at room temperature, this solution is ideally suited to point-of-care testing (POCT) settings, such as the emergency department (ED).  A recent study at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK, has shown the benefits of a point-of-care molecular testing approach to improve patient management and help alleviate bed pressures during the winter flu season1.

After a successful evaluation during 2017, the GeneXpert System was used for flu detection in patients coming in via the ED throughout the winter of 2018-19.  The rapid turnaround of results offered by this system has vastly improved the consistency of flu detection, and has allowed clinicians to make a variety of decisions about patient care while they are still in the ED.  The average time from swabbing, to result, to a doctor assessing the patient has been reduced from 28 hours for standard batch testing to just 50 minutes with POCT.  This has had several knock-on effects, including better treatment guidance and more effective isolation.  Antivirals can be administered to patients sooner – with 86 % of patients now starting antiviral treatment promptly, compared to 42 % previously – and more appropriately, reducing the number of unnecessary oseltamivir prescriptions from 1,527 in 2017-18 to 473 in 2018-19.

The wider hospital has benefitted greatly from point-of-care influenza testing, by giving ED doctors the confidence to discharge patients who would otherwise have been admitted based on diagnostic uncertainty.  Even allowing for variations in flu numbers year on year, this has led to significant improvements in detection, with a greater proportion of patients with flu not admitted during the winter of 2018-19 compared to the previous years.  This has helped staff to make better use of Addenbrooke’s limited side room resources; having a rapid diagnostic test at the gateway of the hospital has meant that suspected flu patients can be isolated appropriately on admission.  Cases of hospital-acquired influenza also decreased from 23 % in 2017-18 to just 17 % in 2019, with deaths associated with these hospital-acquired infections also significantly falling.  On the back of this success, Addenbrooke’s POCT team is considering whether ED is the only location appropriate for this device, and may expand to other clinical areas within the trust in the future.

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Lineham M. Point-of-care solutions for quick detection of influenza. The Biomedical Scientist. 2019 Sep 2: 52-53 CE-IVD. In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Device. Not all products available in all countries. 

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Date Published: 24th September 2019

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