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United States approves rapid avian flu test

Although there has yet to be any confirmed cases of human infection, the Bangladeshi government has already taken a number of steps to mitigate that threat of bird flu. Shamsuddin Ahmed/IRIN
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a test that can detect the deadly H5N1 virus in humans through throat or nose swabs in 40 minutes. Current laboratory analyses that detect the avian flu strain can take up to four hours for confirmation.

Based on past pandemics the world is now closer to another influenza pandemic than at any time since 1968, when the last of the previous century's three pandemics occurred, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

As of 8 April 15 countries have reported 417 human H5N1 infections and 257 deaths since 2003.

Created by Arbor Vita Corporation with backing from the US Navy, the rapid test has not yet been approved for use outside the USA, nor has its price been set.

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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