University touts new test that can check for both COVID-19 virus and flu virus at the same time

November 15, 2020
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UC Davis is touting something accurate and helpful in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

UC Davis Health will roll out a test that will look for both the COVID-19 virus and the flu virus at the same time and give back results in 20 minutes.

"UC Davis Health is the first in the region and among the first in the nation to use these rapid, combined molecular tests," according to a UC Davis press release.

"It was one of the institutions that helped evaluate the accuracy of the tests so they could gain emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is also the first UC health system to use the test," the press release said.

“This will change how COVID-19 testing is performed in emergency or urgent care settings,” said Nam Tran, professor of laboratory medicine and UC Davis Health site principal investigator for the clinical validation of the new test, said in a press release. “It can be administered right away by doctors or nurses at a patient’s bedside.”

According to UC Davis Health, the rapid COVID-19/flu test and the lab test for COVID-19 are PCR tests.

“They are able to pick up very small amounts of viral RNA very early in an infection, so there is a low chance for false negatives, including among pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases,” Tran said in the press release.

The rapid tests, for now, are being used in the emergency department and clinics and most of the UC Davis Health patients will continue to get their lab tests that come back in a day or so, according to the press release.

California surpassed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases last week while CDC numbers put the U.S. at more than 10 million total cases and more than 243,000 deaths from the virus.

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