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New COVID + Flu + R.S.V. Test to Help Prepare for `Tripledemic`

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 26 Oct 2022
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Image: The new saliva-based PCR test kit can also be carried in the company`s COVID-19 vending machines (Photo courtesy of Shield T3)
Image: The new saliva-based PCR test kit can also be carried in the company`s COVID-19 vending machines (Photo courtesy of Shield T3)

With few travel restrictions in place and socializing back to normal, the annual winter rise in COVID-19 cases is "poised to collide with a resurgent influenza season, causing a 'twindemic' - or even a 'tripledemic,' with a third pathogen, respiratory syncytial virus, or R.S.V., in the mix. The three viruses have similar symptoms - fever, cough and congestion - but very different treatment methods, making quick identification important. Now, a new saliva-based PCR test kit can screen for the three illnesses - COVID-19, Influenza A/B and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV – to meet the challenges of a potential "tripledemic" this winter.

The new test launched by Shield T3 (Champaign-Urbana, IL, USA), a spinout of the University of Illinois System's Discovery Partners Institute (Chicago, IL, USA), will help customers know within 24 hours if they have one of these three viruses. The Shield T3 kit, which is no bigger than a wallet, requires users to provide a small sample of drool and then mail the kit back to one of the company's CLIA-certified labs. Lab technicians run two separate tests on the sample, one for COVID, and one for flu and R.S.V.

The test kit is currently available to Shield T3 partners, including schools and companies, and also can be carried in the company's new COVID-19 vending machines, which are stocked with tests. The cost of the test is USD 70 or less, which represents significant savings over running the tests in a clinical setting. School administrators are able to access demand and positivity-rate data from the tests via an online dashboard.

"This is so much easier and less expensive than going to a campus clinic or a doctor," said David Clark, Shield T3's CEO. "We're working to become your partner for easy, rapid and accurate diagnostic tests from home, which is where you want to be if you're sick."

"Given the current state of the pandemic, when you're sick these days, you have no idea what you have; it could just be a cold, but it could be something, like COVID, that requires you to isolate," said Bill Jackson, Shield T3's principal officer. "This test gives our customers a quicker answer."

Related Links:
Shield T3
Discovery Partners Institute

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