HEALTH

Developers roll out new COVID-19 test that also detects influenza and RSV

Nov 23, 2020, 5:35 PM
Developers roll out new COVID-19 test that also detects influenza and RSV...
(ARUP lab workers, preparing specimens. Courtesy Lisa Carricaburu, ARUP)
(ARUP lab workers, preparing specimens. Courtesy Lisa Carricaburu, ARUP)

SALT LAKE CITY – A new kind of COVID-19 test that can also detect influenza and RSV could ease some of the burden of overcrowding some hospitals are facing.  Researchers at ARUP Laboratories are rolling out a new kind of nasal swab that can detect three different respiratory illnesses with one exam. 

With COVID-19 already causing extreme strain on hospitals, doctors and nurses, health officials across Utah have been urging everyone to get their flu shot this year.  Analysts at ARUP Laboratories say a big influx of influenza patients could cripple the already struggling hospital system.  Doctor Adam Barker, ARUP COVID-19 Rapid Response Lab Director, says we haven’t seen that many confirmed cases of influenza so far, mostly because the precautions people are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also work for other respiratory problems.  However, it’s too soon to know how bad flu season will be.

“We’re just starting into that season.  Flu season usually starts in November, really ramps up in December and January and it peaks in February,” Barker says.

(One of the testing kits administered by health care workers. Courtesy: Lisa Carricaburu, ARUP)

Developers at ARUP and Thermo Fisher Scientific are giving hospitals and clinics a new kind of test that can detect COVID-19, Influenza A/B and RSV, which is especially dangerous in young children and older adults.  Barker says not every cough is coronavirus-related, and treatment can vary wildly between these three illnesses.

Barker says, “All three of those illnesses are very similar when a patient contracts them.”

Patients will have to speak with their doctors to request this specific test, but, Barker says it would ensure patients don’t have to return for additional testing once one illness has been ruled out.

“You can do one test at one time and get all the information at one time rather than bringing people back to the clinics and back to the hospitals,” he says.

Barker believes some patients may overlook the flu and RSV since COVID-19 is grabbing all the attention across the country. 

He says, “Usually, during the flu season we would test for flu first, then if it’s not the flu, we look for the other respiratory viruses.  COVID shifted that on us, so, this year we wanted to make sure we were covering COVID.”

This particular exam is administered in one of two ways.  Health care workers can either use a deep nasal swab, or they can get samples from the back of the throat and inside the front of the nostrils.  Barker says saliva tests aren’t effective in detecting influenza.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

Image of the semi-truck that broke through the concrete barrier and rolled into the embankment (Pho...
Chandler Holt

Semi driver dies after driving off side of roadway

A semi drove off the right side of the road, breaking through the concrete barrier, on US-6 at milepost 185 in Spanish Fork canyon.
10 hours ago
WWE Essential...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

John Cena breaks Make-A-Wish record after granting 650 wishes

Actor, wrestling legend, and perpetual meme subject John Cena has completed a new accomplishment: breaking the world record for most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
2 days ago
Utah Republicans are looking to ban transgender surgeries and other hormone-based care....
Mark Jones

Utah to receive additional $4.9 million from FEMA in response to COVID-19

FEMA has announced Utah will receive an additional $4.9 million to help with the housing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3 days ago
BYU tracking...
Simone Seikaly

BYU researchers learn importance of tracking, in fitness and other goals

BYU researchers found that tracking an activity helps to increase (or decrease) that activity.
5 days ago
anxiety...
Adam Small

National health panel recommends anxiety screenings for adults under 65

Anxiety screenings were recommended for adults 19 to 64 by the task force to help combat the under-detection of anxiety disorders.
6 days ago
The little league player that was critically injured after falling off a  bunk bed is now fighting ...
Randall Jeppesen and Mark Jones

Easton Oliverson family files lawsuit against LLBB and bunk bed makers

A lawsuit has been filed by the family of Easton Oliverson against Little League Baseball and the makers of the bunk beds he fell off and injured his head just prior to the Little League World Series.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Developers roll out new COVID-19 test that also detects influenza and RSV