Poles develop test differentiating SARS-CoV-2 and influenza infections

Professor Michał Witt, the institute director, said that the developed test is reliable and allows it to quickly "distinguish in one test tube" whether a given patient is infected with SARS-CoV-2 or the influenza virus. Marcin Obara/PAP

The Institute of Human Genetics of the Polish Academy of Sciences on Monday started tests on differentiating SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus infections, the Poznań-based institute announced.

On Monday, the institute announced that its scientists have developed and applied for patent their F-INe COST test that allows for simultaneous detection and differentiation of coronavirus and influenza A and B viruses.

Professor Michał Witt, the institute director, said that the developed test is reliable and allows it to quickly "distinguish in one test tube" whether a given patient is infected with SARS-CoV-2 or the influenza virus. "Thanks to our patent, a tool has been developed that can quickly differentiate the infectious agent of both diseases that clinically look very similar."

He added that the institute on Monday launched a full differential diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A and B viruses using a molecular test developed at the institute. "Anyone interested in being tested is invited to our specialised laboratory at the Institute of Human Genetics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznań," Witt said.

Head of the institute's Department of Molecular Pathology Professor Natalia Rozwadowska said that the developed test was designed in such a way that it could be easily used by diagnostic laboratories and did not require changes in the current organisation of their work.

"The introduction of our test to routine diagnostics does not require any specific software, devices or additional skills. It is performed in exactly the same way as standard molecular tests for COVID-19. This is a big time optimisation for diagnosticians as by using our kit they perform a test that identifies and differentiates two pathogens at the same time," said the professor.

Scientists from the institute appealed to the ministries of health and science and higher education for assistance in the implementation of the developed test on a national scale.