Patients can find out if they have flu within an hour thanks to study

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DOCTORS have developed a new way of finding out whether patients have the flu.

Dr Tristan Clark, a consultant at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has developed a ‘point-of-care’ testing strategy which involves processing swaps immediately on a portable device.

It can then give patients answers faster leading to shorter courses of antibiotics and less time in hospital as results can be delivered within an hour as opposed to a number of days.

The system was trialled in a study at the trust in 2015 and 2016 when 720 patients got involved.

Dr Clark said: ‘My vision is that anyone who comes into hospital with an acute respiratory condition will receive this point-of-care test as soon as they come through the hospital door.

‘It tell us immediately what virus the person has so, for example, if they have flu, they can be isolated in a side room and given antiviral drugs without delay. Tests like this have a major role to play against antibiotic resistance.’