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Bradford company’s new swab test could give patients a swift diagnosis
A Bradford company has helped to devise a swine flu screening test that could save lives lost through misdiagnosis.
Modern Health Systems (MHS) has the UK rights to the nasal swab test made in Germany and is now contacting ambulance services and health authorities throughout the country encouraging them to take it up.
The simple test takes just 15 minutes to show if the patient has Influenza A or B – swine flu is a Type A.
MHS director Les Vasey, a retired police chief, said if the test showed up negative then medics would be able to swiftly rule out swine flu, get the patient to hospital and move on to an other diagnosis.
He said the idea of the test at first was to help get speedy confirmations of swine flu, so people could then get access to Tamiflu earlier.
He added: “At the time it never crossed our minds that people were dying from bronchial pneumonia as a result of misdiagnosis of swine flu – sadly they are. We don’t have statistics to back that up, but we know from talking to people in the medical field that it is happening and could be avoided.”
The test is CE certified and is 98 per cent accurate, Mr Vasey is hoping the flu screen will soon be in GP surgeries, at A&E wards and also carried on ambulances.
Earlier this month, a Bradford inquest heard antibiotics would have saved Cullingworth mother-of-two Sheila Vaux’s life if she had not been wrongly diagnosed as a swine flu sufferer.
The inquest into the 42-year-old’s death was told she would have been admitted to hospital and treated with broadspectrum antibiotics if it had not been for the swine flu pandemic and guidelines on it.
Mrs Vaux had been a healthy, fit young woman before she was struck down with flu-like symptoms in October.
She had taken advice from the NHS website and was taking Tamiflu, but despite her condition deteriorating and paramedics being called out to her home, it was still assumed she had swine flu.
An A&E doctor said it would be okay for her to stay at home, where she later died from what turned out to be a bacterial form of pneumonia – bilateral streptococcal bronchopneumonia.