Context: Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) are becoming increasingly accurate, available, and reliable as the first line of testing when suspecting influenza infections, although the global burden of influenza infections remains high. Rapid diagnosis of influenza infections has been shown to reduce improper or delayed treatment and to increase access to diagnostic measures in public health, primary care, and hospital-based settings.
Objectives: As the use of RIDTs continues to expand in all healthcare settings, there is a multitude of molecular techniques being employed by these various testing platforms. With this in mind, we compare the sensitivity, specificity, and time to diagnosis for nine highly utilized commercial RIDTs.
Methods: Nine commercially available RIDTs were identified from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, which were also referenced on PubMed by name within the title or abstract of peer-reviewed publications examining the sensitivity and specificity of each test against a minimum of three influenza A virus (IAV) strains as well as seasonal influenza B virus (IBV). Data from the peer-reviewed publications and manufacturers’ websites were combined to discuss the sensitivity, specify, and time to diagnosis associated with each RIDT.
Results: The sensitivity and specificity across the examined RIDTs were greater than 85.0% for both IAV and IBV across all platforms, with the reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays maintaining sensitivity and specificity greater than 95.0% for all viruses tested. However, the RT-PCR platforms were the longest in time to diagnosis when compared to the other molecular methods utilized in the examined RIDTs.
Conclusions: Herein, we discussed the benefits and limitations of nine commercially available RIDTs and the molecular techniques upon which they are based, showing the relative accuracy and speed of each test for IAV and IBV detection as reported by the peer-reviewed literature and commercial manufacturers.