Combined threats of the up-and-coming flu season

Martin Walton

This article has been guest written by our CFO, Martin Walton.

We have all recently witnessed at very close quarters the fact that not only has SARS-COV-2 not gone away, but it is also very much in the ascendant again. Many people have been laid low in recent weeks – despite the fact that it is summer and not a typical virus season.  

The world’s media continues to report stories, some of which have scientific backing, with headlines such as “New COVID variants can evade vaccine protections”, “COVID booster effectiveness wanes after three months”, “New omicron outbreak ravages Australia”.  

In Australia where they are currently in the midst of the winter flu season, workplace absenteeism due to colds and flu is 50% higher than pre-pandemic, largely due to lower immunity.  At the same time, the new Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 are becoming the dominant strains.  BA.5 is known to be particularly “stickier” than previous variants as its spike glycoprotein more readily binds with cells, particularly in the lining of the lungs. This means that healthcare services and providers will need to have a way to quickly diagnose which patients are presenting with COVID and which with flu or other fevers, to triage effectively and allocate appropriate treatment pathways and to run their facilities more effectively – while protecting frontline staff.  

Our new respiratory panel – the Q-POC SARS-CoV-2 Flu A/B RSV Assay, launched in May, provides an easy, rapid and effective solution to this. This multiplex panel can diagnose SARS-COV-2, Flu A, Flu B and RSV quickly and at the Point of Need in clinical facilities. 

With Q-POC, a lab quality test result is achieved with a process as simple as a lateral flow antigen test – in just 34 minutes. One of the assay’s features is that it collects a throat sample – which is where certain variants tend to be concentrated. Each of these diseases carry significant risks for infants, the elderly and the immunocompromised with RSV largely responsible for the most common cause of child hospitalisation.  

After months, if not years of thought, planning design and manufacturing – QuantuMDx is superbly positioned to meet a real and imminent clinical need as we approach flu season in the UK and Europe. This will benefit both patients and our health care systems and providers.