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FDA Approves New Flu Test

Federal health officials have approved a new test that can significantly cut down the time it takes to determine whether someone has the flu.

As News2 Correspondent Lisa Cooley of CBS station WCBS-TV in New York reports, the test was developed at a hospital in a New York suburb.

Flu OIA, the first diagnostic test to tell you within 20 minutes whether you have the flu, is available just in time for the flu season.

"This is a technology, a kit form, that is very similar to kits that many offices use for testing for strep infections in the throat so it's a technology we're familiar with, and it will be able to within 20 minutes give them an answer," says Dr. Leonard Krilov of North Shore University Hospital.

Right now, Dr. Krilov is the only doctor in the New York area trained to conduct the test. It detects either type A or B influenza, and can be done in the doctor's office.

"Either a swab or aspiration from the nose is put into a special media and then that swab is brought and tested," Dr. Krilov continues.

He says, while there is no cure for the flu, this test is a breakthrough, especially for the elderly. The earlier they are diagnosed, the less likely they are to have complications like pneumonia.

A faster diagnosis means better treatment for everyone and better tracking of a flu outbreak.

"We need to track it easily and readily in the office setting. It will give a faster turn-around time and...give the bigger background," says Dr. Krilov.

Starting Tuesday, doctors can purchase the test, now that it has gotten FDA approval.

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