double trouble | 

New 2-in-1 antigen test checks for both Covid-19 and the flu as experts brace for winter

“With influenza numbers high in Australia and New Zealand at the moment, we know a surge in flu is coming.”

Stock image of an antigen test kit© PA

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

A new 2-in-1 antigen test allows people to test for both Covid and the flu at the same time as concern around flu season grows.

Kilkenny company MyBio launched the test to help identify between the two illnesses that the HSE has warned have similar symptoms.

Developers say it will give the user a result within 10 minutes and help decide whether or not they should go to work or school.

“We have seen the ever-growing concern around the question: how will I know if I have the flu or COVID-19?” Dr Linda Nolan, CEO of MyBio said.

"With influenza numbers high in Australia and New Zealand at the moment, we know a surge in flu is coming, and our goal is to make these tests widely [available] in pharmacies, care homes, schools and university campuses across the country before it hits.”

The HSE says flu symptoms come on suddenly and start with a fever, muscle aches, headache, weakness and fatigue while the tell-tale signs of Covid-19 are a fever, a cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly warned the public yesterday that the country is in store for a “bad flu season” coupled with a recent rise in Covid-19 cases.

There were 409 people in hospital with the virus yesterday, an increase on the 327 patients in hospital last Tuesday.

The Minister for Health advised the public to get their Covid booster and flu vaccine to protect themselves and to “help hospitals” too.

Dr Linda Nolan hopes the 2-in-1 antigen tests “will help alleviate the pressure on the health system” as winter comes.

"People can test at home first before presenting to GP waiting rooms and hospitals and also before heading into their workplace.”

From this week, the flu vaccine is free for people aged 65 or older, to children aged two to 17 through a nasal spray vaccine. to people with long-term medical conditions, to pregnant women and to health staff.

Covid-19 boosters are being offered to people on a rolling basis with those with an underlying health condition and people over 65 now asked to book their third booster.

Second boosters can be booked by people aged 50 to 64, pregnant women, healthcare workers and those who are high-risk.

People can still register to get their first or second dose of the vaccine too.

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