A new study conducted by UW school of medicine showed that at-home flu testing results are comparable to clinincal testing.
The study was conducted on 600 Seattle-area residents participated in the 2020 study between February and the end of May. The researchers determined that sensitivity and specificity of the self-test were comparable with those of influenza rapid diagnostic tests used in clinical settings. False-negative results were more common when the self-test was administered after 72 hours of the appearance of symptoms, but were not related to inadequate swab collection or severity of illness.
“Home tests are a valuable tool to support the management of influenza and other respiratory infections,” said Matthew J. Thompson, professor of global health and family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Thompson is the senior author on the study and a primary-care physician at UW Medicine.
“This study underscores the imperative of expanding access to testing and lowering the costs,” said Barry Lutz, another co-author of the paper. Lutz is an associate professor of bioengineering in the UW College of Engineering and School of Medicine. He is also a Brotman Baty Institute investigator. Pandemic coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 testing was not included in this study, which covered influenzas A and B. The research was part of the Seattle Flu Study, a collaborative effort led by the Brotman Baty Institute, which involves UW Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Other contributing authors were Victoria Lyon, Elisabeth Brandstetter, Monica Zigman Suchsland, Peter D. Han, Chelsey Graham, Misja Ilcisin, Ashley E Kim, Deborah A Nickerson, Helen Chu, and Trevor Bedford.