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 year.1 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 the 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.2

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).3 Reliable negative Influenza A/B results support clinicians to consider other cases of illness like bacterial pathogens that require antibiotics.4

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.5

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 costs of illness.6

Related systems

cobas® liat 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. World Health Organization. "Vaccines against influenza WHO position paper—November 2012." Weekly Epidemiological Record. (2012).

  2. Mayo Clinic (2016). Symptoms and causes of Influenza, Available at Accessed on 01/05/2023.

  3. CDC (2016). Guidance for Clinicians on the Use of Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests. Available at Accessed on 01/05/2023.

  4. CDC (2016). Influenza Signs and Symptoms and the Role of Laboratory Diagnostics Available Accessed on 01/05/2023.

  5. Caliendo, Angela M et al. “Better tests, better care: improved diagnostics for infectious diseases.” Clinical infectious diseases: an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. vol. 57 Suppl 3, (2013): S139-70. doi:10.1093/cid/cit578. 

  6. Bhavnani, Darlene, et al. "The influence of rapid influenza diagnostic testing on antibiotic prescribing patterns in rural Thailand." International journal of infectious diseases 11.4 (2007): 355-359.

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