Throughout the year, we talk a lot about flu, but there are several other respiratory viruses like parainfluenza, RSV, adenoviruses, and coronaviruses that can also cause respiratory infections. Our State Laboratory has been able to detect most of these viruses through a battery of test methods, but now we have a way to consolidate testing for respiratory pathogens. Our State Laboratory’s Virology Section is currently validating a test method that uses markers to detect 16 different viral pathogens in upper and lower respiratory tract specimens- including influenza viruses, parainfluenza viruses, RSV, adenoviruses, and coronaviruses.
The new test will be run on a single “platform” for all viral markers- and the test turn-around time is only 8 hours. This testing will be used as an adjunct to the routine influenza surveillance testing we do… and may be considered the primary test method for post-seasonal influenza surveillance activities next season. In addition, the panel will allow us to more rapidly identify the cause of respiratory outbreaks and can support our Border Infectious Disease Surveillance Program by helping us identify which respiratory diseases are circulating along our southern border. Improved identification of pathogens helps us better target our prevention efforts and allows us to more rapidly identify rare or emerging pathogens.