Researchers in Southeast Asia have developed a diagnostic kit that can detect all known H5N1 influenza strains within a few hours with almost 100 percent accuracy, according to a press release by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), in Singapore, where the kit was designed. The real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, which is being distributed by AITbiotech, is reported to detect the more than 40 distinct strains of H5N1 that have been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The new assay was designed to be compatible with AITbiotech’s existing “4-plex” Influenza Kit, and when used together will detect a range of influenza types including the H1N1 strain that caused the 2009 pandemic, H3N2, H5N1, Flu A, and Flu B.
“With this latest H5N1 assay, we can easily combine it with our previous 4-plex Influenza kit to differentiate which strain of Influenza is present with one test, giving a definite diagnosis and faster turnaround for our patients and our colleagues in infection control and public health," Timothy Barkham a clinician at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore who helped design the new assay, said in the press release.
The kit is currently being tested in several Southeast Asian hospitals.