As the number of cases of the H3N2 influenza subtype is rapidly increasing across India, Chennai-based Kriya Medical Technologies has received approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for their RT-qPCR kit — Krivida Trivus — that they claim can detect three different types of virus.
The RT-qPCR kit can detect the presence or absence of three viruses — Influenza (H1N1, H3N2, Yamagata and Victoria sublineages), SARS-CoV-2, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the Indian company said in a statement.
The three viruses have similar initial symptoms, but differ in how the illness progresses, how easily they spread, and how they are treated.
A single swab test for H3N2 and other viruses with a single tube, the time taken for the result to be read can vary between 50–60 minutes.
Identification of H3N2 influenza in India made easy
With multiple viruses including H3N2 doing the rounds in India, tests have now become the only way to identify the pathogen in order to seek the appropriate treatment.
“Identifying the specific virus that is causing the infection can help clinicians understand the likely outcomes and understand how the patient will do. For example, an infant with SARS-CoV-2 has a good prognosis, but one with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) may develop severe inflammation of the lungs — bronchiolitis. If there is a co-infection or if multiple viruses are present, it may signal a worse outcome and a higher chance of developing severe pneumonia,” a company statement said.
If any of the three viruses are detected, doctors can advise patients to avoid antibiotics, which can help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.
The test kit for H3N2 influenza and other viruses was evaluated by the Indian Council of Medical Research at the National Institute of Virology, Pune, using 225 known positive samples and 85 negative samples. The overall sensitivity of Krivida Trivus is 99.11% while the specificity is 100%.
Need for a test for H3N2 and other viruses in India
Anu Moturi, CEO and Founder, Kriya Medical Technologies, said in a statement, “Over the last several weeks, we have seen an increase in the number of H3N2 cases in India, as well as a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections. We need a test that can clearly differentiate between these infections and help doctors create the right treatment plan.”
“Common respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, flu, RSV infection, Covid-19, and allergies share similar symptoms like cough, sneezing, weakness, breathlessness, and fever. However, each of these illnesses has a different clinical course and management protocol. Since these illnesses cannot be accurately distinguished from each other based on symptoms alone, there is a critical need for an easy and accurate method to identify the specific viral cause of the infection,” said Head of Research and Development at Kriya Medical Technologies Dr Shanmugapriya, in a statement.
The company is now awaiting its manufacturing licence and following this, they aim to mass produce the test kits for H3N2 influenza and other viruses for public use in India.
Other test kits
Earlier this year, Kriya Medical Technologies received ICMR approval for Krivida Novus, an RT-PCR kit that can reportedly detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus and that can also differentiate the Omicron variant from Delta and other variants.
The test takes just about 45 minutes to detect the infection and determine the variant.
In a previous statement, Moturi said, “Krivida Novus not only tackles the issue of delayed testing, but it also helps in swift prevention of spread. Furthermore, since the test can differentiate between variants, it’s also ideal for entry point screening of travellers at airports.”