Health topic


Help stop the spread of influenza

Influenza is a seasonal disease that occurs annually, usually peaking in winter. It affects 5-10% of adults and 20-30% of children each year1 Seasonal illnesses can result in hospitalization and death mainly among high-risk groups (the very young, elderly or chronically ill).1 Worldwide, annual epidemics are estimated to result in 3–5 million cases of severe illness, and 250,000–500,000 deaths.1

Influenza is characterized by sudden onset of symptoms including fever, runny nose, cough, headache and fatigue.These symptoms overlap with many upper and lower respiratory infections caused by other bacterial and/or viral pathogens – this makes diagnosis based on symptoms alone challenging for clinicians.3

However, the rapid differentiation of influenza A/B from other influenza-like illnesses (ILIs) is essential for infection control and patient management.

Current diagnostic methods commonly used are point-of-care rapid antigen tests and lab based Nucleic Acid amplification tests (NAAT) such as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).4 Reliable negative Influenza A/B results support clinicians to consider other cases of illness like bacterial pathogens that require antibiotics.5

Give an early, accurate flu diagnosis

Current immunoassay-based rapid tests for influenza have limited sensitivity and negative test results should be interpreted with caution given the potential for false negative results.4

An unmet need exists for tests that can accurately rule in or out Influenza quickly, near patients to inform clinical management.6

Use of POC testing that can reliably detect viral and/or bacterial pathogens would result in enhanced care, less antibiotic empiricism and, at least in theory, reduced patient and societal cost of illness.7

Related systems

cobas® Liat® PCR System

The cobas Liat  System is a fast, easy-to-use, compact PCR system designed for on-demand testing in point-of-care* settings such as physician clinics, pharmacy, and hospital and satellite laboratories.

The cobas® Influenza A/B & RSV Nucleic Acid Test for Use on the cobas® Liat® System (cobas® Influenza A/B & RSV) is an automated multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay for the rapid in vitro qualitative detection and discrimination of Influenza A virus, Influenza B virus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) RNA in nasopharyngeal swab specimens from patients with signs and symptoms of respiratory infection in conjunction with clinical and epidemiological risk factors. The test is intended for use as an aid in the differential diagnosis of Influenza A, Influenza B, and RSV in humans and is not intended to detect Influenza C.

cobas Liat System


  1. WHO (2014). Influenza (seasonal) factsheet. Available at Last access July 2016
  2. Mayo Clinic (2016), Symptoms and causes, Available at last accessed July 2016
  3. Call et al. (2005). JAMA 293:987-997
  4. CDC (2016). Guidance for Clinicians on the Use of Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests. Available at last accessed October 2016
  5. CDC (2016). Influenza Signs and Symptoms and the Role of Laboratory Diagnostics Available  last accessed October 2016
  6. Caliendo et al (2013). Clin Infect Dis 57(S3):S139–170
  7. Bhavnani et al (2007). Int J Infect Dis 11:355–359
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