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August 12, 2020

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COVID-19 and flu test combined

FDA approves test that can detect both COVID-19 and flu

This column is provided by ONU HeathWise Pharmacy.
 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a third combination test for COVID-19 and the flu.

This new test is found under the name Influenza SARS-CoV-2 (Flu SC2) Multiplex Assay.

The FDA previously issued EUAs to BioFire Diagnostics LLC and QIAGEN GmbH for their combination tests. These particular combination tests can help identify other respiratory organisms in addition to the viruses that cause the flu and COVID-19.

As flu season approaches, many are worried — and with good reason. The US needs to prepare for and deal with the upcoming flu season while the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

“With just one swab or sample, combination tests can be used to get answers to Americans faster," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn in a press release. "This efficiency can go a long way to providing timely information for those sick with an unknown respiratory ailment."

These tests check for multiple respiratory diseases — in this case, COVID-19 and the seasonal flu — from one sample.

This recently approved test requires the sample collection to be done by a health care provider and is limited to authorized laboratories. Samples can be collected from sputum, the nose and other areas, the FDA reported.

COVID-19 and the seasonal flu have similar symptoms, making it more difficult to determine which illness the patient truly has.

These combination tests allow for one less visit to a testing center, less discomfort and faster results. The community and health care providers save time as a result.

Plus, these combination tests help to preserve critical testing resources as we head into flu season.

If you are concerned about COVID-19 or the flu, speak with your health care provider.

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