April 8 (HealthDay News) -- A rapid test to detect the H5N1 strain of avian influenza has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency said in a news release.
The AVantage A/H5N1 Flu Test detects the deadly strain of bird flu using throat or nose swabs from people with flu-like symptoms. It takes less than 40 minutes to yield results, compared with previous tests that take three or four hours, the FDA said.
While the strain of bird flu has proven difficult to pass between fowl and people, experts worry that the virus will mutate and pose the threat of a human pandemic. The World Health Organization has recorded 412 confirmed cases of human infection with H5N1, mostly in Asia and Northern Africa.
So far, it hasn't been detected in the Americas, the agency said.
In clinical studies, the AVantage test correctly diagnosed the absence of infection in more than 700 samples, and correctly identified the virus in 24 specimens from infected people.
The test is produced by California-based Arbor Vita Corp.