Point of Care Testing & the Future of Public Health

If the past three years have taught QuantuMDx anything, it would be to prepare for the unexpected.

While it can be difficult to predict which infectious disease will emerge as ‘the next big thing’, surveillance tools map the occurrence and transmission of certain infections, providing an early warning system for possible threats. Owing to their pandemic potential, influenza viruses are under global surveillance.

H5N1 is one type of influenza A virus of particular interest. Primarily a disease of birds (so called avian or bird ‘flu), H5N1 is highly pathogenic causing severe respiratory disease, and is infecting millions of birds worldwide.

H5N1 has not evolved to infect humans. The small number of cases identified have been associated with close contact with infected birds or H5N1-contaminated environments. Person-to-person transmission is very rare.

Reports of H5N1 in mammals is a cause for concern. While the number of cases is low, the number of infected species is increasing, indicating that the circulating H5N1 strain is able to infect mammalian respiratory cells.

According to a recent (23-FEB-23) technical briefing prepared by UK governmental agencies that investigate the risk of influenza A H5N1 to human health in England, the UK risk is assessed at level 3: “evidence of viral genomic changes that provide an advantage for mammalian infection.”

Should the need arise, H5N1 is one of 13 subtypes of Influenza A tested in silico for inclusivity in the Q-POC™ SARS-CoV-2, Flu A/B & RSV assay. The oligonucletide sequences used for Influenza A detection have been checked against all complete H5N1 genomes downloaded from the GISAID database on 2-MAR-2023 (a total of 5567) and found to fulfil the assay inclusivity criteria.

Click here to find out more about the Q-POC™ SARS-CoV-2, Flu A/B & RSV assay.

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