Healthcare providers across the United States can now access three different test options from Quest Diagnostics to aid the diagnosis of covid-19 and differentiate it from other seasonal respiratory infections, including influenza. Each test is designed to use a single specimen, promoting faster test ordering, reporting, and diagnosis, as compared to ordering multiple tests, for potentially improved patient care. The tests may also help reduce demand for specimen collection devices amid supply constraints. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this fall and winter could be one of the most complicated times in the history of public health due to the potential spread of seasonal respiratory viruses along with the SARS-CoV-2, which causes covid-19. Some symptoms of covid-19 and seasonal respiratory viruses, including flu, are similar, and diagnostic testing can help determine the virus causing this illness. 

The new test options include the cobas SARS-CoV-2 & Influenza A/B, an automated high throughput multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay from Roche. The FDA granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for the test earlier this month. The test is intended for simultaneous qualitative detection and differentiation of SARSCoV-2 and/or influenza A or B virus RNA from individuals suspected of respiratory viral infection consistent with covid-19 by their healthcare provider. 

Two additional test panels from Quest Diagnostics, the Respiratory Viral Panel (RVP) test and the Respiratory Pathogen Panel (RPP), now include testing for SARS-CoV-2 using the company’s SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test, which was granted FDA EUA in March 2020 to aid the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2. With the addition of SARS-CoV-2, the RVP panel can aid the identification of up to a dozen viruses and subtypes, and the RPP panel can aid the identification of 18 viral targets and two bacterial targets. Each respiratory panel test also requires only a single nasopharyngeal specimen. 

“With a perfect storm of covid-19, influenza and seasonal respiratory viruses circulating over the fall and winter months, laboratory testing that can reliably identify the virus causing disease will be critical to mobilizing effective patient care and public health response,” says Jay G. Wohlgemuth, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Quest Diagnostics. “Our goal is to give providers multiple tools to care for patients as quickly and effectively as possible, using a minimum of specimen collection materials amid continuing supply constraints.” 

For more information, visit Quest Diagnostics.