Comparison of Types of Influenza Diagnostic Tests Ordered by Test Accuracy and Time to Results

Influenza Diagnostic TestMethodAvailabilityTypical Processing TimeSensitivity, %Distinguishing Subtype Strains of Influenza ACost
Rapid influenza molecular assaysRNA detectionWide<20 minutes86–100No$$$
Rapid influenza diagnostic testsAntigen detectionWide<15 minutes10–70No$
Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (including reverse transcriptase–PCR)RNA detectionLimited1–8 hours86–100Yes$$$
Direct and indirect Immunofluorescence assaysAntigen detectionWide1–4 hours70–100No$
Rapid cell culture (shell vials and cell mixtures)Virus isolationLimited1–3 days100Yes$$
Viral cell cultureVirus isolationLimited3–10 days100Yes$$