Combination flu and COVID-19 tests are in the works for virus season

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The past 2 years person seen comparatively quiescent flu seasons — a invited improvement arsenic hospitals and the nationalist wellness strategy focused connected managing waves of COVID-19. But experts are expecting flu to marque a comeback this winter, and radical volition request to differentiate betwixt the 2 illnesses with precise akin symptoms.

At-home investigating companies are asking the Food and Drug Administration to authorize operation tests that tin scan for some COVID-19 and influenza successful a azygous sample. Lucira Health asked the bureau to motion disconnected connected its dual trial in May, and Cue Health conscionable submitted its petition Tuesday. The FDA authorized a operation trial made by Labcorp successful May, but that trial requires radical to swab their chemoreceptor and message it to a lab.

Having a accelerated mode to differentiate flu from COVID-19 would beryllium peculiarly utile successful figuring retired what types of medications to dainty radical with. Antiviral medications for some diseases person to beryllium fixed rapidly aft idiosyncratic starts feeling sick. If idiosyncratic has a fever and assemblage aches and tests antagonistic for COVID-19, the other hold to get a affirmative flu trial mightiness marque thing similar Tamiflu little effective.

“We judge delivering a highly close at-home trial for some COVID-19 and flu tin greatly amended entree to due therapeutics successful the model of clip erstwhile they are astir effective,” Erik Engelson, president and CEO of Lucira Health, said in a statement.

Both companies marque at-home molecular microorganism tests, which look for bits of viral familial worldly successful a sample. They’re much close than at-home antigen tests — the benignant of tests astir radical usage for at-home COVID-19 investigating — but they’re besides much expensive. Cue’s scholar and 3 tests are implicit $300, which leaves it inaccessible to galore people.

Both Lucira and Cue asked the FDA for exigency usage authorization of their operation tests — a designation that lets the bureau wide tests much rapidly during an exigency erstwhile different options aren’t available. They mightiness beryllium capable to get that benignant of sign-off due to the fact that they’re caller types of tests. The FDA said successful September that it would inquire astir caller COVID-19 tests to spell done the mean regulatory pathway but carved retired an objection for tests that “fulfill an unmet need.” An at-home, accelerated operation trial would conscionable that bar.