New tests can detect SARS-CoV-2 as well as other viruses like influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, the New York Times reports. It adds that such tests could be helpful come the next flu season.
This past flu season was mild, the Times notes, but as more children may then be back at in-person school and as mask-wearing may decline, the flu may be more prevalent next season. University of Washington's Geoffrey Baird tells it that people will then want to know whether they have the flu or SARS-CoV-2.
One PCR-based test from Cepheid detects two influenza viruses and RSV as well as SARS-CoV-2, while Roche has a test that detects influenza A and B in addition to SARS-CoV-2 and a test from bioMérieux detects more than 20 viruses and bacteria, the Times reports, noting that some labs have further developed their own in-house multiplex tests.
One question facing test-makers is just how many viruses and bacteria to include on their panels, the Times adds. It also notes that most people used to not be interested in knowing exactly which pathogen was causing their respiratory symptoms, but as Alexandra Valsamakis from Roche Diagnostics Solutions tells it, COVID-19 has changed that.