FDA approves improved diagnostic test for viruses

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved a new test for diagnosing respiratory viruses called the xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel, which was developed by McMaster University and Luminex Molecular Diagnostics, according to published reports.

This new test can detect the viruses in a few hours compared to old tests which would have required multiple individual diagnostic tests to be performed on a patient sample and could take several days to provide the same results as the xTAG test.

The FDA approval allows laboratories to use the test to simultaneously detect and identify 12 viruses and viral subtypes that together are responsible for more than 85 percent of respiratory viral infections, including influenza A, influenza A-H1, influenza A-H3, influenza B, Adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus A and B, metapneumovirus, parainfluenza 1, 2, and 3, and rhinovirus.

“Respiratory viruses affect millions of people each year and can lead to serious complications such as bacterial super infections and pneumonia. The RVP test allows healthcare providers to more rapidly and accurately detect infected patients and take appropriate measures to treat and reduce the spread of the disease,” said James Mahony, director of the McMaster University Regional Virology and Chlamydiology Laboratory at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine.

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