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Combined flu and COVID-19 tests approved


Jolyon Attwooll


13/09/2022 1:59:30 PM

Two separate nasal tests capable of detecting both COVID-19 and influenza have been approved by Australia’s medicines regulator.

Person doing nasal swab
The combination tests will be the first in Australia, expected to be available at pharmacies, supermarkets or online.

Two new tests that can detect both COVID-19 and influenza have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
 
The TouchBio SARS-CoV-2 & FLU A/B Antigen Combo Test (Nasal), and the Fanttest COVID-19/Influenza A&B Antigen Test Kit will be the first combination tests for both diseases available in Australia, and are expected to be available at pharmacies, supermarkets or online.
 
‘Being able to test accurately and quickly for both flu and COVID is a major advance,’ infectious disease expert Professor Robert Booy told Nine News.
 
‘It’s important to households, workplaces [and] to aged care centres especially, in my opinion.’
 
The TGA said it is significant that the tests will allow people to know which respiratory illness is affecting them.
 
‘For many consumers, distinguishing between COVID-19 and influenza is important in managing their infections,’ it stated.
 
The tests use nasal swabs and have a similar waiting time for results as existing rapid antigen tests, and have an additional test window that shows results for influenza A and B.
 
As part of the approval agreement, the suppliers have committed to supplying data to allow the tests to be monitored for efficacy if there are any further shifts in the virus.
 
‘The approvals are subject to conditions that require the sponsors of the tests to provide the TGA with ongoing quality and performance information,’ the TGA said.
 
‘This includes reporting of any problems with the use of the tests, such as users who experience false positives or false negatives, and evidence to demonstrate that the tests continue to perform with any emerging COVID-19 variants.’
 
The new tests will also be subject to testing verification carried out by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity as well as the National Reference Serology Laboratory.
 
The Peter Doherty Institute has been carrying out similar tests on existing COVID-19 rapid antigen tests.
 
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