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Washington: Researchers have developed an automated system to test and differentiate flu strains.
In pandemic infection, such as the present Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak, rapid automated tests are needed in order to make quick and effective public health decisions.
Real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (real-time RT-PCR) is a sensitive and specific method for identifying flu substrains.
A group led by Kelly J Henrickson of the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), has developed rapid semi and fully-automated multiplex real-time RT-PCR assays to detect influenza A, influenza B, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), reports IANS.
These assays can successfully detect human H1N1, H3N2, and swine-origin H1N1 viruses as well as distinguish these from influenza B and RSV infections.
These assays could test large numbers of samples over a very short time, allowing for a significant decrease in both technician and assay time, an MCW release says.
Beck and colleagues suggest that "this outbreak demonstrates the importance of having rapid, reliable, sensitive, and specific assays that allow public health officials to react quickly and effectively during viral outbreaks".