Use of immunochromatographic tests in a laboratory diagnostic algorithm for influenza

Yatsyshina S.B., Kulichenko T.V., Artemova I.V., Rybalka O.B., Elkina M.N.

1 Central Research Institute of Epidemiology, Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being, Moscow, Russia; 2 National Medical Research Center for Children’s Health, Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia
Objective. To estimate the diagnostic significance of identifying the antigens of influenza A and B viruses by immunochromatography (ICG) versus that of detecting influenza virus nucleic acids (NAs) by a real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, as well as to determine the optimal procedure for their use in the diagnosis of influenza.
Subjects and methods. Nasopharyngeal swabs from 211 children with influenza-like symptoms were concurrently examined by ICG and RT-PCR for NAs of influenza viruses and 19 other pathogen species of acute respiratory diseases.
Results. 85.8% of the children were found to have NAs in the pathogens of acute respiratory infections; influenza was confirmed in 62.6%. ICG was used to detect influenza virus antigens in 31.3% of the children. The diagnostic sensitivity of ICG for influenza A(H3N2) and B viruses was 58 and 20%, respectively; its diagnostic specificity was 97.5 and 97.7%.
Conclusion. The negative result of ICG cannot be an exception to the diagnosis of influenza due to the low sensitivity of this technique. Examinations on 1-2 days of the disease allow one to increase the sensitivity of ICG for the diagnosis of influenza A; this technique is minimally informative for the diagnosis of influenza B. It is advisable to use RT-PCR to rule out the diagnosis of influenza and to determine respiratory infection of another etiology.


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About the Autors

For correspondence:
Svetlana B. Yatsyshina, Cand. Biol. Sci., Senior Researcher, Department of Molecular Diagnosis and Epidemiology, Central Research Institute of Epidemiology, Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being
Address: 3a, Novogireevskaya St., Moscow 111123, Russia
Telephone: +7(495)974-96-46, ext.2260
Information about the authors:
Prof. Tatiana V. Kulichenko, MD, Head, Department of Urgent Pediatrics, National Medical Research Center for Children’s Health, Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia;
Inga V. Artemova, Pediatrician, Department of Urgent Pediatrics, National Medical Research Center for Children’s Health, Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia;
Olga B. Rybalka, Pediatrician, Department of Urgent Pediatrics, National Medical Research Center for Children’s Health, Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia;
Mariya А. Elkina, Junior Researcher, Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Epidemiology, Central Research Institute of Epidemiology, Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being;
Moscow, Russia; e-mail:

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