Multiplex PCR Testing
Rapid antigen tests are just that—rapid. That’s the upside that balances out the downside of reduced sensitivity. Laboratory NAAT tests, the CDC’s “gold standard,” can take days to return results.4
However, the BIOFIRE® Respiratory 2.1 (RP2.1) Panel is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test—a type of NAAT—that offers results in about 45 minutes and features sensitivity of 98.4% for SARS-CoV-2.5 Intended for use with patients suspected of COVID-19, the BIOFIRE® Respiratory 2.1-EZ (RP2.1-EZ) Panel (EUA)* also detects SARS-CoV-2 with a high degree of sensitivity and can be used in an outpatient setting, providing a fast and accurate option for urgent care clinics, family physicians, and other frontline facilities.
These respiratory PCR panels have another benefit: they take a syndromic approach to respiratory testing. While testing for COVID-19, they also test for several other respiratory targets. Fast and accurate answers on a COVID PCR test are great—but what if the patient is symptomatic and tests negative for COVID-19? Syndromic testing gives clinicians answers on a broad menu of targets with one easy multiplex PCR test. The BioFire RP2.1-EZ Panel (EUA) detects 19 relevant targets, including but not limited to SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus.
Several respiratory pathogens have been circulating during the 2021-2022 respiratory season, not just SARS-CoV-2. Influenza A has been active, as well as respiratory syncytial virus and human rhinovirus/enterovirus.6
Syndromic testing is a valuable approach for frontline testing for COVID-19. The BioFire RP2.1 Panel and BioFire RP2.1-EZ Panel (EUA) offer results in just 45 minutes, and the panels are easy to run and only require 2 minutes of hands-on time. These respiratory PCR tests are considerably more accurate than rapid antigen tests. And, importantly, the syndromic approach provides results on a comprehensive menu, giving clinicians—and their patients—solid answers even when the tests are negative for SARS-CoV-2.