Thanks to an expansion of a partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Hologic, Inc. will accelerate the development of the Aptima SARS-CoV-2/Flu assay, dangling the promise of a test capable of differentiating between the pair.
Specifically, the test could simultaneously detect and separately decipher the RNA of SARS-CoV-2 and Influenzas A and B. This could be invaluable since these viruses include many overlapping clinical symptoms, such as fever and respiratory issues, but with different treatments necessary to manage them.
Only one respiratory specimen would be required from each patient to do so, which the Department of Health and Human Services hopes will help preserve limited testing reagents and reduce the need for critical supplies such as swabs or personal protective equipment.
The test is what is known as a high-throughput, automated multiplex. It runs on the fully automated Panther system, which currently has more than 1,100 instruments deployed in all 50 states. According to HHS, the Panther system can provide initial results in less than three hours and process more than 1,000 tests in a single day.