Influenza Diagnostic Tests

Influenza Diagnostic TestMethodAvailabilityTypical Processing TimeSensitivity %Distinguishing Subtype Strains of Influenza ACost
Rapid influenza diagnostic testsaAntigen detectionWide<15 min10–70No$
Rapid influenza molecular assaysbRNA detectionWide<20 min86–100No$$$
Nucleic acid amplification tests (including RT-PCR)RNA detectionLimited1–8 h86–100Yes$$–$$$
Direct and indirect immunofluorescence assaysAntigen detectionWide1–4 h70–100No$
Rapid cell culture (shell vials and cell mixtures)Virus isolationLimited1–3 d100Yes$$
Viral cell cultureVirus isolationLimited3–10 d100Yes$$$
  • Adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidance for clinicians on the use of rapid influenza diagnostic tests. Available at: Accessed July 25, 2017. RT-PCR, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.

  • a Most rapid influenza diagnostic tests are waived by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments.

  • b Some rapid influenza molecular assays are waived by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, depending on the specimen.