Alere launches 15-minute genetic test for influenza A and B in Europe
20 February 2014
Point-of-care diagnostics company Alere Inc. has launched in Europe the Alere i Influenza A & B test, a molecular test that detects and differentiate influenza A and B virus in less than 15 minutes.
The test is now commercially available in Austria, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the UK.
Molecular testing involves the extraction and analysis of DNA or RNA strands to detect sequences associated with viral and bacterial causes of infections. The company says the Alere i Influenza A & B is the first molecular diagnostic test that delivers actionable, lab-accurate results in less than 15 minutes on a user-friendly platform.
The proprietary technology uses isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology (i NAT), which, unlike polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, does not require temperature cycling and can therefore deliver results more quickly — the company calls it Molecular. In Minutes (MIM) — and to a broader range of settings. Alere i tests for Strep A, C. difficile, respiratory syncytial virus ( RSV) and chlamydia / gonorrhoea are currently in development.
Avi Pelossof, Alere Global President of Infectious Disease, said, “Alere i is a transformational platform that allows healthcare professionals to make a rapid influenza diagnosis and effective patient management decisions in a clinically meaningful timeframe, whether the patient is in the physician office, emergency department or urgent care clinic. Alere i also significantly expands screening opportunities by making innovative, rapid molecular testing technology available at the point of care as well as in laboratory settings.”
The need for rapid diagnostics
Each year, a combination of influenza A and B virus strains circulate within Europe. Up to 40,000 people die each year from influenza in the EU, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The disease also poses a significant economic burden including medical care expenses and loss of productivity.
Rapid diagnostics with increased sensitivity are essential for the reliable detection of influenza A and B, enabling healthcare professionals to make immediate, effective treatment decisions and prevent unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics and antiviral medications. Rapid diagnosis of influenza can help reduce length of hospital stays, secondary complications and the cost of hospital care, and allow effective implementation of infection control measures.
Note: Alere i Influenza A & B is currently under regulatory review in the United States and is not available in the US pending completion of such review.