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      Routine molecular point-of-care testing for respiratory viruses in adults presenting to hospital with acute respiratory illness (ResPOC): a pragmatic, open-label, randomised controlled trial


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          Respiratory virus infection is a common cause of hospitalisation in adults. Rapid point-of-care testing (POCT) for respiratory viruses might improve clinical care by reducing unnecessary antibiotic use, shortening length of hospital stay, improving influenza detection and treatment, and rationalising isolation facility use; however, insufficient evidence exists to support its use over standard clinical care. We aimed to assess the effect of routine POCT on a broad range of clinical outcomes including antibiotic use.


          In this pragmatic, parallel-group, open-label, randomised controlled trial, we enrolled adults (aged ≥18 years) within 24 h of presenting to the emergency department or acute medical unit of a large UK hospital with acute respiratory illness or fever higher than 37·5°C (≤7 days duration), or both, over two winter seasons. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1), via an internet-based allocation sequence with random permuted blocks, to have a molecular POC test for respiratory viruses or routine clinical care. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who received antibiotics while hospitalised (up to 30 days). Secondary outcomes included duration of antibiotics, proportion of patients receiving single doses or brief courses of antibiotics, length of stay, antiviral use, isolation facility use, and safety. Analysis was by modified intention to treat, excluding patients who declined intervention or were withdrawn for protocol violations. This study is registered with ISRCTN, number 90211642, and has been completed.


          Between Jan 15, 2015, and April 30, 2015, and between Oct 1, 2015, and April 30, 2016, we enrolled 720 patients (362 assigned to POCT and 358 to routine care). Six patients withdrew or had protocol violations. 301 (84%) of 360 patients in the POCT group received antibiotics compared with 294 (83%) of 354 controls (difference 0·6%, 95% CI −4·9 to 6·0; p=0·84). Mean duration of antibiotics did not differ between groups (7·2 days [SD 5·1] in the POCT group vs 7·7 days [4·9] in the control group; difference −0·4, 95% CI −1·2 to 0·4; p=0·32). 50 (17%) of 301 patients treated with antibiotics in the POCT group received single doses or brief courses of antibiotics (<48 h) compared with 26 (9%) of 294 patients in the control group (difference 7·8%, 95% CI 2·5 to 13·1; p=0·0047; number needed to test=13). Mean length of stay was shorter in the POCT group (5·7 days [SD 6·3]) than in the control group (6·8 days [7·7]; difference −1·1, 95% CI −2·2 to −0·3; p=0·0443). Appropriate antiviral treatment of influenza-positive patients was more common in the POCT group (52 [91%] of 57 patients) than in the control group (24 [65%] of 37 patients; difference 26·4%, 95% CI 9·6 to 43·2; p=0·0026; number needed to test=4). We found no differences in adverse outcomes between the groups (77 [21%] of 360 patients in the POCT group vs 88 [25%] of 354 patients in the control group; −3·5%, −9·7 to 2·7; p=0·29).


          Routine use of molecular POCT for respiratory viruses did not reduce the proportion of patients treated with antibiotics. However, the primary outcome measure failed to capture differences in antibiotic use because many patients were started on antibiotics before the results of POCT could be made available. Although POCT was not associated with a reduction in the duration of antibiotics overall, more patients in the POCT group received single doses or brief courses of antibiotics than did patients in the control group. POCT was also associated with a reduced length of stay and improved influenza detection and antiviral use, and appeared to be safe.


          University of Southampton.

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          Most cited references20

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          Community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization among U.S. children.

          Incidence estimates of hospitalizations for community-acquired pneumonia among children in the United States that are based on prospective data collection are limited. Updated estimates of pneumonia that has been confirmed radiographically and with the use of current laboratory diagnostic tests are needed.
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            FilmArray, an Automated Nested Multiplex PCR System for Multi-Pathogen Detection: Development and Application to Respiratory Tract Infection

            The ideal clinical diagnostic system should deliver rapid, sensitive, specific and reproducible results while minimizing the requirements for specialized laboratory facilities and skilled technicians. We describe an integrated diagnostic platform, the “FilmArray”, which fully automates the detection and identification of multiple organisms from a single sample in about one hour. An unprocessed biologic/clinical sample is subjected to nucleic acid purification, reverse transcription, a high-order nested multiplex polymerase chain reaction and amplicon melt curve analysis. Biochemical reactions are enclosed in a disposable pouch, minimizing the PCR contamination risk. FilmArray has the potential to detect greater than 100 different nucleic acid targets at one time. These features make the system well-suited for molecular detection of infectious agents. Validation of the FilmArray technology was achieved through development of a panel of assays capable of identifying 21 common viral and bacterial respiratory pathogens. Initial testing of the system using both cultured organisms and clinical nasal aspirates obtained from children demonstrated an analytical and clinical sensitivity and specificity comparable to existing diagnostic platforms. We demonstrate that automated identification of pathogens from their corresponding target amplicon(s) can be accomplished by analysis of the DNA melting curve of the amplicon.
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              Respiratory Viral Detection in Children and Adults: Comparing Asymptomatic Controls and Patients With Community-Acquired Pneumonia

              Abstract Background.  The clinical significance of viruses detected in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is often unclear. Methods.  We conducted a prospective study to identify the prevalence of 13 viruses in the upper respiratory tract of patients with CAP and concurrently enrolled asymptomatic controls with real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. We compared age-stratified prevalence of each virus between patients with CAP and controls and used multivariable logistic regression to calculate attributable fractions (AFs). Results.  We enrolled 1024 patients with CAP and 759 controls. Detections of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and human metapneumovirus were substantially more common in patients with CAP of all ages than in controls (AFs near 1.0). Parainfluenza and coronaviruses were also more common among patients with CAP (AF, 0.5–0.75). Rhinovirus was associated with CAP among adults (AF, 0.93) but not children (AF, 0.02). Adenovirus was associated with CAP only among children <2 years old (AF, 0.77). Conclusions.  The probability that a virus detected with real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in patients with CAP contributed to symptomatic disease varied by age group and specific virus. Detections of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and human metapneumovirus among patients with CAP of all ages probably indicate an etiologic role, whereas detections of parainfluenza, coronaviruses, rhinovirus, and adenovirus, especially in children, require further scrutiny.

                Author and article information

                Lancet Respir Med
                Lancet Respir Med
                The Lancet. Respiratory Medicine
                Elsevier Ltd.
                6 April 2017
                May 2017
                6 April 2017
                : 5
                : 5
                : 401-411
                [a ]NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
                [b ]Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
                [c ]Department of Infection, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
                [d ]NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
                [e ]Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence to: Dr Tristan William Clark, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, SO16 6YD, UK T.W.Clark@ 123456soton.ac.uk
                © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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