- Hologic and Thermo Fisher Scientific have begun selling panels to test for COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases in the European Union.
- With cold and flu season on the horizon, the companies have introduced assays designed to help physicians determine which virus is responsible for respiratory symptoms to inform treatment.
- Each company framed the assays as part of a push to help healthcare systems through the next phase of the pandemic, in which SARS-CoV-2 will spread alongside other respiratory viruses that may be resurgent in the absence of measures to suppress COVID-19.
The experience of Australia suggests Europe and other parts of the northern hemisphere may face high levels of respiratory disease this winter. In Australia, which as a southern hemisphere country serves as a bellwether for Europe, notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza have far exceeded the levels seen from 2017 to 2021. The flu season began earlier and escalated faster than is typical.
In anticipation of the European cold and flu season, Hologic has introduced assays for its Panther Fusion and Novodiag systems, and Thermo Fisher has rolled out a TaqPath respiratory panel assay. All the assays test for a range of respiratory viruses.
Both Hologic assays test for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A and B and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The Thermo Fisher panel tests for adenovirus, human metapneumovirus, rhinovirus and enterovirus and four subtypes of parainfluenza virus.
Thermo Fisher already sells a TaqPath panel that tests for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A and B and RSV and wants customers to pair it with its latest respiratory offering. Because the panels use the same workflow on the Applied Biosystems QuantStudio 5 PCR system, users can test for eight respiratory viruses in one patient sample.
Similarly, Hologic’s test menu already covers many of the pathogens targeted by Thermo Fisher’s new panel. Users of the Panther system can access assays for the parainfluenza subtypes and a combined test for adenovirus, human metapneumovirus and rhinovirus.