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New Assay Offers Rapid Seasonal Virus Testing

Physicians working with UChicago MedLabs now have a more affordable option for the rapid testing of seasonal viruses influenza A and B and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): the Xpert Flu/RSV XC Assay, order code IRP.

The new assay may be an option for immunocompetent emergency department patients or other outpatients for whom hospitalization is not being considered, as well as for employees seen in occupational medicine, according to Kathleen G. Beavis, MD, medical director of the Microbiology and Immunology Laboratories at the University of Chicago. This new test option joins the current respiratory panel (order code RBVP), which identifies 20 viral and bacterial targets.

MedLabs will perform IRP testing 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the virus season, which runs through May 15.  Turnaround time will vary depending on the volume of requests received. At peak hours, the laboratory expects a shorter turnaround time for the flu/RSV assay compared to the full respiratory panel because they are testing for fewer viruses and bacteria, Beavis said. Still, for inpatients or those being considered for admission, as well as for immunocompromised patients, the full respiratory panel may be more appropriate, she added.

Clients can order the influenza A/B and RSV tests or the entire respiratory panel. Specimen requirements for the assay are the same as for the full respiratory panel: nasopharyngeal aspirate or a flocked nasopharyngeal swab, submitted in a viral transport medium.
For additional information, physicians may direct questions to Scott Matushek, chief technologist for the microbiology and immunology laboratories, at 773.795.0055, or Angella Charnot-Katsikas, MD, assistant director for the laboratories, at 773.834.2473.
Learn more about all our testing specialties and order new tests online.