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Flu testing still seeing disruption but benefiting from rising ‘multi-parameter’ diagnostics testing for both COVID-19 and flu, says GlobalData

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Diagnostics that can test for both COVID-19 and flu have quickly replaced tests that indicate for flu alone, according to GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that these ‘multi-parameter’ tests now comprise a global market worth $1.54bn.

Chris Onderisin, Medical Devices Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Multi-parameter tests with the ability to diagnose both COVID-19 and influenza have seen a tremendous rise in value – especially considering this specific market was non-existent a mere two years ago. This is only good news for flu testing, which saw significant disruption throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Traditional influenza testing volumes in US hospitals saw strong growth between 2015 and 2019, but the most recent flu season saw testing decline by nearly 67% over the same period for tests developed prior to 2020. Multi-parameter tests now make up nearly 84% of diagnostic tests for influenza in US hospitals.

Onderisin continues: “Successful public vaccination campaigns for COVID-19 have effectively ended many of the public health measures that also curbed the spread of flu last season. Multi-parameter testing will continue to aid clinicians in guiding treatment options this flu season while also supporting COVID-19 diagnoses. GlobalData expects global sales for new COVID-19 fighting drugs Lagevrio and Paxlovid to exceed $15.6bn in 2022. Receiving an accurate diagnosis is essential for drugs such as these, particularly with new antivirals arriving to market that can drastically improve outcomes following infection.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the regulatory approval and laboratory adoption of testing platforms that offer multiplex respiratory panels – tests that can differentiate between multiple infectious agents from a single sample. For clinicians, such tests can provide confidence and additional peace of mind when ruling out potential infection from COVID-19.

Onderisin adds: “In vitro diagnostic companies are in the process of developing rapid antigen-detection tests that include both COVID-19 and influenza, mirroring the transition to point-of-care and home-testing observed for COVID-19 tests in 2021. These differentiated multiplex tests will likely play an important role in diagnostics for years to come.”

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