Do point-of-care tests (POCTs) offer a new paradigm for the management of patients with influenza?
Dickson EM., Zambon M., Pebody R., de Lusignan S., Elliot AJ., Ellis J., Lackenby A., Smith G., McMenamin J.
The introduction of point-of-care tests (POCTs) has presented new opportunities for the management of patients presenting to healthcare providers with acute respiratory symptoms. This Perspective article is based on the experiences of national infection teams/those managing acute respiratory infections across the United Kingdom in terms of the challenges and opportunities that this may present for public health. This Perspective article was conceived and written pre-coronavirus disease (COVID-19), however the principles we outline here for influenza can also be translated to COVID-19 and some key points are made throughout the article. The greatest challenge for intergrating POCTs into non-traditional environments is the capture of data and samples for surveillance purposes which provides information for public health action. However, POCTs together with measures outlined in this article, offer a new paradigm for the management and public health surveillance of patients with influenza.