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New Test to Detect ‘An Early Warning Signal’ for Influenza

New Test to Detect ‘An Early Warning Signal’ for Influenza

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  • Flu is a contagious viral infection that infects the nose, throat and the lungs.
  • Scientists have found a new High-risk Influenza Screen Test (HIST) to identify influenza patients who require urgent treatment.
  • The new test provides ‘an early warning signal’ to fight the infection.

A new test has been developed to identify influenza patients who will require urgent, life-saving, medical treatment.

The High-risk Influenza Screen Test (HIST) can help to measure 'an early warning signal' that is released by the patient's body to their blood for the immune system to fight the infection.

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New Test to Detect ‘An Early Warning Signal’ for Influenza

The research study was published in the European Respiratory Journal.

Single Drop of Blood For the Test
The new test that has been developed by Dr Benjamin Tang -- a doctor from the Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Nepean Hospital and medical researcher at Westmead Institute for Medical Research requires only a single drop of blood and a few hours to predict.

The test has been found to be 91% accurate on which type of patients will develop potentially deadly secondary infections like pneumonia.

The physicians were able to know only on who could test for influenza infections but however did not know on who will be at risk of rapid deterioration.

Dr. Tang, said, "Influenza can sometimes kill otherwise healthy people in the prime of their lives."

"By using the High-risk Influenza Screen Test we're eavesdropping on the immune system to pick up when the body first mounts a defence against a serious, life-threatening, infection. The early warning means we have a greater chance to treat the patient's infection before it overwhelms them and potentially kills them."

Benefits of HIST
The study was able to understand the genetic codes that the immune cells can release to warn the body of a serious infection like pneumonia, which is caused by influenza virus.

The test is particularly useful during an outbreak when there is delay in developing vaccines for influenza strains.

The HIST test can also be used to track the effectiveness of the new drugs in clinical trial that are accurately being plotted by the patient's immune response.

Dr. Tang said, "We can now test people during a pandemic, or outbreak of a new flu virus, to identify those who might be at greater risk of developing serious complications. The test works with any flu infection as it looks at how the body reacts rather than the strain or type of virus."

The patented High-risk Influenza Screen Test has already on work in most of the pathology laboratories.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that could infect the nose, throat and lungs. An annual flu vaccine can be the best way to prevent flu infections.

What are the Symptoms of Flu?
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
Complications of flu can result in pneumonia, ear infections and worsening of chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes or asthma.

  1. Benjamin M. Tang et al. A novel immune biomarker IFI27 discriminates between influenza and bacteria in patients with suspected respiratory infection. The European Respiratory Society, 2017 DOI: 10.1183/13993003.02098
  2. Key Facts About Influenza (Flu) - ( https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm)

Source: Medindia

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