Flu Tests: 6 Fast and Accurate Diagnosis For Recovery

Flu Tests: 6 Fast and Accurate Diagnosis For Recovery

Flu (Influenza) is a contagious illness caused by the influenza virus with symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, body aches & fatigue. Diagnosis through rapid Flu Tests or nasal swabs is vital to prevent complications & spread. Prevent flu by vaccination and hand hygiene. If infected, rest and hydration are important for recovery.


6 Fast Flu Tests

Early diagnosis is crucial in preventing complications and the spread of the flu virus. Timely testing for flu (influenza) can help you receive appropriate treatment and prevent the virus from spreading to others.


List of Flu Tests:

  1. Rapid influenza diagnostic test
  2. RT-PCR test
  3. Serologic testing
  4. Viral culture test
  5. Nucleic acid detection test
  6. ELISA


Discover various Flu Tests tests, their purposes, and their benefits in this comprehensive guide. Enhance your knowledge of different Flu Tests types!


Flu Test - Drlogy


1. Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Test

  • Rapid flu test provides fast and accurate diagnosis within 15-20 minutes
  • The test has high sensitivity and specificity for reliable results
  • Simple and easy nasal or throat swab collection for patient comfort and convenience
Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Test Details
Also Known As RIDT, Influenza Rapid or Quick Test
Purpose Accurate Flu Diagnosis
Sample Nasal or Throat Swab
Preparation None
Procedure Quick and Simple
Test Timing 15-20 Mins
Test Price (INR) 500-1500
Result Value Positive or Negative
Normal Value Negative for Influenza
Accuracy Approximately 50-70%
Interpretation A positive result indicates current flu infection

Rapid influenza diagnostic test is a quick and simple in-office procedure that can detect the presence of influenza virus through a nasal swab or aspirate, with results available in 15-30 minutes.


2. RT-PCR Test

  • RT-PCR test has high sensitivity and specificity for accurate detection of influenza virus
  • The test uses advanced molecular techniques for precise and reliable results
  • It can detect even small amounts of viral RNA, making it an ideal choice for early diagnosis of flu
RT-PCR Test Details
Also Known As Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
Purpose Detects and quantifies viral RNA
Sample Nasal or throat swab, saliva, blood
Preparation Sample collection and transport
Procedure Amplify and detect flu RNA
Test Timing 2-4 hours
Test Price (INR) 1,500-3,000
Result value Cycle threshold (Ct) value
Normal Value Negative
Accuracy High
Interpretation Ct value <40 indicates positive for viral RNA

The RT-PCR test accurately detects viral RNA in samples, with results available within hours. Priced between Rs. 1,500 - Rs. 3,000, it uses Ct values, with <40 indicating positive results.


3. Serologic Testing

  • Measures antibodies in blood to detect past infections
  • Can help determine the immune status of an individual
  • Used to study the prevalence of a disease in a population
Serologic Testing Details
Also Known As Antibody testing
Purpose Confirm flu infection and previous exposure
Sample Blood
Preparation None
Procedure Blood draw
Test Timing several days
Test Price (INR) 500-2,000
Result Value Presence of antibodies
Normal Value Varies by test type
Accuracy Highly accurate
Interpretation A positive result indicates past infection or exposure

Serologic testing, or antibody testing, is a blood test that detects past virus exposure. Highly accurate and affordable at Rs. 500 - Rs. 2,000, a positive result indicates the presence of virus antibodies. Results are available in a few days.


4. Viral Culture Test

  • A viral culture test grows viruses from a patient's sample
  • It is highly sensitive and specific in detecting viruses
  • Results can take several days and test preparation is required
Viral Culture Test Details
Also Known As Tissue Culture for viruses
Purpose To detect the presence of live virus in a sample
Sample Tissue or fluid sample
Preparation Requires special handling and transport
Procedure Culture-based virus detection
Test Timing Several days to weeks
Test Price (INR) Lab-dependent
Result value Presence or absence of live virus
Normal Value Negative for live virus
Accuracy Sample quality impact
Interpretation A positive result indicates the presence of a live virus, while a negative result indicates its absence.

Viral Culture Test is a lab Flu Tests that detects live virus in a tissue or fluid sample. It's accurate but takes days to weeks to get the result. A positive result indicates the presence of live virus while a negative result indicates its absence in Flu Tests.


5. Nucleic Acid Detection Test

  • Identifies viral genetic material with high accuracy
  • Can detect virus even before symptoms appear
  • Requires specialized equipment and trained professionals for sample collection and processing.
Nucleic Acid Detection Test Details
Also Known As PCR Test, RT-PCR Test
Purpose Detects genetic material of a pathogen
Sample Various bodily fluid samples
Preparation Swab to Lab Transport
Procedure Genetic material detection process
Test Timing 4-6 hours
Test Price (INR) 1,500-3,500
Result value Positive or negative
Normal Value Negative
Accuracy Accurate but false negatives are possible.
Interpretation A positive result indicates active infection with a pathogen.

The Nucleic Acid Detection Test detects pathogen genetic material in a sample. It involves collection, amplification, and detection of genetic material, and yields results within hours. It's highly accurate but may have false negatives. A positive result indicates infection in Flu Tests.


6. ELISA Test

  • Highly sensitive and specific in detecting antibodies or antigens.
  • Used for diagnosis of infectious and autoimmune diseases.
  • Involves coating a plate with the target antigen or antibody and detecting the reaction with a labeled secondary molecule.
ELISA Test Details
Also Known As Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
Purpose Quantify antibodies or antigens in a sample
Sample Blood, saliva, or urine
Preparation None required
Procedure Antibody-antigen binding
Test Timing 1-4 hours
Test Price (INR) 800-3000
Result Value Optical density or concentration
Normal Value Varies by test
Accuracy High accuracy
Interpretation Positive or negative based on a cutoff value

ELISA test detects antibodies or antigens in a sample and is widely used in medical diagnosis. It's highly accurate with results obtained within hours. The cost ranges from Rs. 800 to 3000 in India.


Flu Differential Diagnosis

Similar Disease Differentiating Factors
Influenza (flu) Abrupt onset, high fever, severe body aches, headache
COVID-19 Loss of smell/taste, shortness of breath, dry cough
Common Cold Runny/stuffy nose, mild headache, low-grade fever, sore throat
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Wheezing, rapid breathing, severe cough, blue skin/lips

This table provides a quick reference for medical professionals and similar diseases based on key differentiating factors. Proper differential diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment and prevention of the spread of infectious diseases.


Influenza Tests Comparison

Test Details Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Test (RIDT) RT-PCR Test Serologic Testing
Also Known As Rapid flu test PCR test, molecular flu test Flu antibody test, blood test
Purpose Accurate Flu Diagnosis Detects and quantifies viral RNA Confirm flu infection and previous exposure
Sample Nasal or throat swab Nasal or throat swab, saliva, blood Blood
Preparation None Sample collection and transport None
Procedure Quick and Simple Amplify and detect flu RNA Blood draw
Test Timing 15-30 minutes 2-4 hours Several days
Test Price (INR) 500-2000 1500-5000 500-2500
Result Value Positive or negative Cycle threshold (Ct) value Presence of antibodies
Normal Value Negative Negative Varies by test type
Accuracy Approximately 50-70% High Highly accurate
Interpretation A positive result indicates a current flu infection Ct value <40 indicates positive for viral RNA A positive result indicates previous flu exposure

*Flu Tests Price, range, and timing may vary as per location, lab type, and procedure.

Rapid influenza diagnostic, RT-PCR, and serologic tests are used for flu diagnosis. The tests differ in their purpose, sample type, preparation, procedure, timing, cost, and accuracy. Rapid tests are fast but less accurate, while RT-PCR tests are highly accurate but slower. Serologic tests detect past infections but are not useful for acute diagnosis. Choosing the right test depends on the patient's condition and the clinical setting.


Best Doctor for Flu Diagnosis

Specialist Description
Infectious Disease Doctor Specializes in infectious diseases
Family Physician Provides primary care for flu cases
Pulmonologist Expert in respiratory conditions
Internal Medicine Doctor Manages various medical conditions
Pediatrician Specializes in children's healthcare

An Infectious Disease Doctor is the best specialist for flu treatment.


7 Interesting Facts of Flu Diagnosis

Here are 7 Interesting Facts about Flu Diagnosis.

  1. Rapid flu tests may not always be accurate.
  2. Flu symptoms can be similar to other illnesses.
  3. Serologic testing can detect past flu infections.
  4. CT values can indicate the severity of a flu infection.
  5. Sample quality can affect RT-PCR test accuracy.
  6. Flu viruses can be cultured on cells for diagnosis.
  7. Proper sample collection is crucial for accurate flu diagnosis.



Get tested for the flu (influenza) with rapid diagnostic Flu Tests like RT-PCR or serologic tests. Timely diagnosis and treatment can prevent severe complications.



  • Rapid influenza diagnostic test - Wikipedia [1].
  • Influenza - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf [2].
  • Diagnosing Flu | CDC [3].


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Flu Tests FAQ

Can flu be diagnosed without a test?

Yes, in some cases, healthcare professionals may diagnose flu based on symptoms and clinical evaluation without a specific diagnostic test. However, a diagnostic test is recommended for confirmation and to identify the specific flu strain.

How long does it take to get results from a flu test?

The time taken to get results from a flu test can vary depending on the type of test. Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) can provide results within 15-30 minutes. On the other hand, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and viral cultures may take longer, typically a few hours to a few days, as they involve more detailed analysis in a laboratory setting.

Are flu tests accurate in all stages of the illness?

Flu tests are generally most accurate when performed during the early stages of illness when the viral load is higher. However, the accuracy of flu tests can vary depending on the specific type of test used. Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) have a higher chance of false negatives compared to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which are more sensitive and specific. It's always best to consult with a healthcare professional for accurate interpretation of test results.








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