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Utah lab announces combined test for COVID-19, influenza, and RSV

Posted at 9:07 AM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 14:22:25-05

SALT LAKE CITY — ARUP Laboratories on Monday announced the availability of a combined test to detect and differentiate COVID-19, influenza, and/or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in individuals with respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

“This weekend was a big victory for us," said Adam Barker, PhD, director of ARUP’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Laboratory. "Launching this test today we’re very excited about it in the lab."

READ: Utah-based ARUP launches nationwide COVID-19 antibody testing

The test is available to clients nationwide, and is the first offered in the United States to be developed using Thermo Fisher Scientific’s TaqMan SARS-CoV-2, Flu A/B, RSV multiplex primer and probes and run on the QuantStudio Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) platform.

“We are proud to offer this test, which is one of the first available to test for all four viruses,” Barker said. “This single test is a simple, accurate way to determine which virus is the cause of illness as the flu and RSV seasons get underway amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

ARUP’s Influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and RSV by NAA test detects ribonucleic acid (RNA) from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, along with the influenza A and B viruses and RSV. A qualitative test, it also differentiates between the viruses, although it does not differentiate between influenza A and B.

The test can be performed on specimens collected using a deep nasal swab, or on specimens collected from the back of the throat and the front of both nostrils.

READ: COVID-19 initiative TestUtah gets tweaked

It adds to ARUP’s menu of COVID-19-related tests, which includes a molecular diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can be performed on multiple specimen types including saliva.

ARUP also offers two IgG antibody tests to detect previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2, along with numerous tests that help guide treatment of patients with the virus.

“What we’re seeing often is, people come in with a COVID negative asay and they’re like, ‘Do we have influenza?' and it causes the patient to come back, get retested and that’s a lot of interactions that we don’t want to have, back in the hospital or with the doctor," Barker said. "So that’s why, one test, we can have all three done at the same time.”

This comprehensive test can be requested from your doctor or anywhere you get tested for the flu or COVID.

“The challenge clinicians face as we enter flu season is unparalleled even if flu and RSV activity remain low,” said ARUP CEO Sherrie L. Perkins, MD, PhD. “We’re pleased that this combination test will help them provide the best patient care possible as the pandemic persists.”

Associated Regional and University Pathologists Inc. is a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit lab located in the University of Utah Research Park.