Clinical trial for rapid detection of the flu

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Clinical trial for rapid detection of the flu

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The ellume:lab Flu A+B Test that is being trialled by USC and local GPs

10 August 2017

With the flu season in full swing this winter, USC’s Clinical Trials Centre is working with doctors at Buddina and Morayfield to conduct a trial of a new rapid detection device for Influenza A and B.

The product, known as the ellume:lab Flu A+B Test, includes a tool for taking a nasal sample, an eStick to detect flu antigens in the sample, and a phone-sized analysis unit.

USC Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka said the device was designed to promote early diagnosis of the treatable infectious illness in a point-of-care setting, such as a clinic.

USC is conducting tests at three locations: its Sippy Downs centre, Coastal Family Health at Point Cartwright Drive, Buddina; and Morayfield Family Doctors at Morayfield Road.

Mr Litewka said faster diagnosis of Influenza at the point-of-care could reduce related complications, unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions, hospital stays and healthcare costs.

“It is hoped that in the future, this new device may provide a non-invasive, easy-to-use and rapid test that can detect Influenza A and B during a regular doctor visit, with results obtained in less than 10 minutes,” he said.

“This could greatly assist people at high risk of Influenza complications, because they can be treated with inhibitors within 48 hours of infection to reduce the severity of symptoms and duration of illness.”

He said the ellume Sampler was a more comfortable method of nasal collection for the patient than the usual swab, and could be taken by the patient or the healthcare practitioner. The eStick used an immunofluorescence technology to detect flu antigens.

“Influenza cases in Queensland peak during winter, with the annual season usually occurring between May and October.

“People aged over 1 who have experienced flu-like symptoms within the last three days are being sought to take part in the trial.”

Mr Litewka said adults who met the criteria would be asked to do a self-test using the new device, and provide one throat swab.

Patients interested in participating can register online or call (07) 5456 3797.

— Julie Schomberg

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