May 20, 2022

YES, THEY’LL COVID TEST AT THE DROP OF A HAT BUT IT’S LIKE PULLING TEETH TO GET A FLU TEST: How Many Influenza and RSV Cases Go Untreated Because They Had a Negative COVID Test?

The CDC tells readers the best protection against influenza is the flu vaccine. Unfortunately, this year’s flu vaccine is only 16 percent effective against contracting influenza. The CDC influenza surveillance report goes on to say, “There are also prescription flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness.”

But, as I pointed out in my April 18, 2022 blogpost, the prescription antiviral, Tamiflu, must be started within the first two days of the onset of influenza.

Unfortunately, rapid influenza tests that give results in about 15 minutes can only be performed by health care practitioners at urgent care centers or in doctors’ offices. The Food and Drug Administration has thus far only approved at‐​home self‐​administered flu tests that must be sent in to laboratories that provide results in about 2 days—often outside the window for effective antiviral treatment.

Well, the FDA. But there’s finally progress: “On May 18 the FDA announced it approved a new at‐​home, self‐​administered test that can detect COVID, influenza, and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus—11 percent mortality in adults) off of one specimen. The test is available without a prescription and can be obtained online from Labcorp or at retail stores. This new test is an important breakthrough.”

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