As the country grapples with Covid, influenza and RSV, the FDA approved a test kit in May that tests for all three viruses in one swipe.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Assumptions During this period, there were at least 15 million reported cases of the flu, 150,000 hospitalizations, and 9,300 deaths from the flu. Since last weekOverall illnesses and hospitalizations increased by 15%. While the spread of Covid-19 has increased, concentrated in the Northeast and California, the national numbers have remained relatively stable.

Photo: Stock photo of a sick child.


GMA Medical Contributor Dr. Darien Sutton joins “Good Morning America” ​​to break down the tools to combat this season’s “triple bleed.”

“The FDA is trying to improve access to PCR testing … so they’ve approved a three-in-one test that tests for Covid, RSV and the flu with one swab,” Sutton said.

How the test works

“With the sharp increase in RSV cases last year, the ongoing threat of Covid-19 and the flu, testing for all three viruses at once allows individuals and physicians to quickly diagnose the disease and determine appropriate treatment. ” Dr. Brian Caveney, Chief Medical Officer and President of LabCorp Diagnostics at A. press release Part of the statement.

Labcorp’s combination home collection kit, called The Pixel, is for covid, flu and RSV only. The FDA approved the kits for emergency use “to detect nucleic acids from SARS-CoV-2, influenza A and/or influenza B, and RSV from other viruses or pathogens.” press release.

Unfortunately, the results do not come in 15 minutes as a quick antigen test, but the results are done in the laboratory, using the PCR amplification process, the results can be more accurate. Potential test takers go to a website and fill out a questionnaire. If you meet the requirements, the item will be shipped overnight. The user then pokes their nose to collect a sample and sends the kit back to Labcorp for testing. Results are available one to two days after the samples are returned to the laboratory, so it takes around three to five days to get final results.

The kit can be used without a prescription for individuals age 2 and older. press release. The test has no out-of-pocket cost for those who have insurance coverage and meet the criteria in the questionnaire.

For the uninsured, it runs $169.

Similar tests are available from urgent care and other health care providers, and you can get results quickly. Faster results may be more important because if you are positive for Covid-19 or the flu, treatments such as paxlovide or Tamiflu must be taken within a few days of symptoms.

Should you take this test before the holiday gatherings?

The Pixel three-in-one test is not for anyone looking for quick test results, or for people who are at high risk for the three viruses and already have flu-like symptoms.

“If you’re at high risk, you may be a candidate for an intervention, such as paxlovide,” Sutton said. If you are low risk and have mild and no symptoms, I think this is an option to take, but if you are going to an event or a holiday party again, my advice is to use those quick tests. If you want to add an extra layer of protection as close to that event as possible and a few days before to increase the level of accuracy, you can get PCR tests.

Experts also should not replace examination but can complement other precautionary measures.

“It’s important to know your results early, depending on your risk, and wear a mask if you’re at low risk and have symptoms. [can help] Regardless of your test results, to prevent transmission,” Sutton added.

Early detection of treatment has good results. A A new study Paxlovide reduced the risk of hospitalization or death from Covid-19 by 44 percent in a highly vaccinated group of US adults over 50. The best results were seen in the first three to five days after the onset of symptoms.

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