Sensitivity of rapid influenza antigen tests in the diagnosis of pandemic (H1N1)2009 compared with the standard rRT-PCR technique during the 2009 pandemic in Turkey

Ciblak M. A. , Kanturvardar M., Asar S., Bozkaya E., Yenen O. Ş. , Badur S.

SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, vol.42, pp.902-905, 2010 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.3109/00365548.2010.502903
  • Page Numbers: pp.902-905


The real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) technique has been used as the reference technique for the diagnosis of pandemic (H1N1)2009 virus infections. However, rapid influenza diagnostics tests (RIDTs) have been considered in the diagnosis of pandemic (H1N1)2009 by some healthcare institutions in Turkey due to their ease of use and generation of fast results. Nevertheless, their low sensitivity has caused concern during the control of the pandemic. This study aimed to determine the sensitivity of 4 different rapid tests available on the market in Turkey in the diagnosis of pandemic (H1N1)2009 infections compared to the reference rRT-PCR technique. One hundred and four patient samples that tested positive and 88 samples that tested negative for pandemic (H1N1)2009 by rRT-PCR were tested with RIDTs available on the market. The sensitivity of the rapid tests ranged from 31.7% to 50% depending on the brand of RIDT. Specificity ranged from 97.7% to 100%. Currently available RIDTs are not sensitive enough and could lead physicians to delay the treatment of patients, adversely affecting control efforts to mitigate the pandemic. Therefore, these tests should only be used for screening, and negative results should not rule out influenza. More sensitive and rapid point-of-care techniques are needed to meet the demands of point-of-care testing.