High Increase In Post-COVID-19 Influenza Cases Expected In Flu Season In Australia
Epidemiologists have long feared that two years of pandemic restrictions may have rendered the world susceptible to severe outbreaks of various respiratory viruses such as influenza and RSV. Experts are currently urging caution over a potential surge in influenza cases for the upcoming flu season in Australia. If the expected surge in influenza cases proves accurate, similar patterns may be experienced during the flu seasons across the Northern Hemisphere. As such, efforts to expand vaccination coverage and screen for dominant strains remain more important than ever.
Moreover, the development and availability of different diagnostic devices around the world help address the growing need for a more rapid, convenient, affordable, and accurate detection of influenza viruses. Enabling testing in resource-limited areas, point-of-care settings, mass testing purposes, and medical emergencies; rapid antigen tests, such as our Influenza A/B Rapid Test Kit, SARS-CoV-2 + Flu A/B + RSV Combo Rapid Test Kit, and SARS-CoV-2 & FLU A/B Antigen Combo Test Kit, offers significant advantages for various purposes that serve public health. Read along to learn more about influenza, its symptoms, and how it is detected with the SARS-CoV-2 & FLU A/B Antigen Combo Test Kit.
What is influenza?
Influenza viruses are RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae. Influenza viruses are classified under the categories A, B, C, and D depending on their differing antigenic and biological characteristics. Among these, Influenza A and Influenza B are the only types of influenza to cause notable diseases in human populations. Compared to influenza A and influenza B, influenza C viruses are known to cause mild disease and relatively few outbreaks. On the other hand, Influenza D is not known to affect human health.
With more than 110 different subtypes, such as the infamous avian flu and the swine flu, Influenza A causes the most severe disease in human populations. Indeed, influenza A has been responsible for each and every influenza pandemic and most of the influenza epidemics recorded in human history, including the Spanish Flu (1918), Asian Flu (1957), Hong Kong Flu (1968), Bird Flu (2004), and Swine Flu (2009). On the other hand, with only two antigenically distinct lineages, Influenza B viruses exhibit a much lower mutation rate, pathogenicity, and complication risk.
Influenza viruses mutate rapidly due to antigenic drifts and antigenic shifts that continuously alter their genetic material. The rapid mutation rate of influenza viruses makes it impossible for us to acquire lasting immunity following natural infection. Therefore, while it is always possible to get infected with influenza, flu vaccines that are updated before every flu season based on the estimations of the influenza subtype in circulation provide significant protection against severe disease and complications.
Is it the common cold, influenza, or COVID-19?
There are slight differences among the clinical presentations of COVID-19, influenza, and the common cold that could help you identify the infection that you may most likely be dealing with. Symptoms of COVID-19 develop around 2 to 14 days following exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and often include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, myalgia, and headaches. Although it typically causes similar symptoms such as fever, chills, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, myalgia, fatigue, and headache, influenza often develops within a much more rapid onset of 1 to 2 days. On the other hand, symptoms of the common cold often develop within two days after exposure and include sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sore throat, coughing, and, less commonly, fever.
What is the SARS-CoV-2 & FLU A/B Antigen Combo Test Kit?
In a nutshell, the SARS-CoV-2 & FLU A/B Antigen Combo Test Kit is a rapid chromatographic immunoassay for the simultaneous qualitative detection of antigens specific to SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, and influenza B in human nasopharyngeal samples. It has been intended for the differential detection of COVID-19, influenza A, and influenza B in patients with clinical and epidemiological risk factors. Coming in a lateral flow test format, the assay targets a commonly expressed protein for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, and influenza B. The test incorporates multiple sets of antibodies specific to each virus to detect and capture the viral antigens that may be present in the tested sample as the liquid travels along the surface of the kit via capillary flow. Labeled antibodies enable the emergence of colored lines in the control region (C) and the test region (T). The presence of the control line (C) confirms the validity of the results, whereas the presence of the test line (T) indicates that the result is positive for a given pathogen.
How to use the SARS-CoV-2 & FLU A/B Antigen Combo Test Kit?
The SARS-CoV-2 & FLU A/B Antigen Combo Test Kit requires the collection of a nasopharyngeal swab sample. For the collection of the required sample, the patient is first asked to tilt their head back to allow for easier entry to the nasal passage. Next, the sterile swab is slowly inserted into the nasopharynx. Once a slight resistance, the swab is rotated a few times close to the inner wall of the nasal cavity. Then, the swab is removed, inserted in the extraction tube, rotated within the extraction buffer a few times, and squeezed along the inner wall of the tube to ensure the transfer of the collected sample into the extraction buffer. Then, the swab head is broken at the marked point, and the extraction tube is closed with the dropper head. Finally, the test cassette is removed from its sealed pouch and placed on a horizontal surface. A few drops of the processed sample are added to the assigned wells in the kit for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, and influenza B. A timer is started, and the results are read within the period instructed in the manual.