COVID RATs spark call for rapid flu tests

Rapid flu tests could help health workers, manufacturers say, as hospitals prepare for a grueling flu season amid rising coronavirus cases.

Pathology Technology Australia CEO Dean Whiting said rapid flu tests, similar to the rapid COVID-19 tests people are now familiar with, could help decide more quickly which treatments patients need.

He said there was an opportunity to learn from the coronavirus pandemic when it came to fighting the flu, and the federal government just needed to green light the technology that already exists.

“We are still at the start of flu season, so there is an opportunity for the government to make interventions that could have an instant impact,” Mr Whiting said.

It comes as NSW reported 12,020 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, with 1,398 people in hospital including 60 in intensive care. There have been 13 virus-related deaths.

Meanwhile, University of Florida researchers say steroids can reduce death rates by more than 50% in hospitalized patients with long COVID-19 discharge.

The researchers went through the health records of more than 1,200 adults hospitalized with the virus over the past two years.

They found that patients with the highest levels of an inflammation marker also had the highest risk of dying within a year of discharge.

Common long-lasting symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain and chest pain, researchers said.

But the silver lining, as the journal Frontiers in Medicine reports, is that prescribing steroids reduces the risk of death by 51%.

Clinics for long COVID-19 patients have already opened in Australia.

Another study published in The Lancet this week by Chinese researchers found that the long devastating effects of COVID-19 on the body can last two years after a person is discharged from hospital.

LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:

NSW: 12,020 new cases, 13 deaths, 1,398 in hospital including 60 in intensive care

Victoria: 13,181 new cases, 18 deaths, 491 in hospital including 25 in intensive care |

Tasmania: 1,118 new cases, two deaths, 39 in hospital including one in intensive care

Queensland: 6,555 new cases, 12 deaths, 407 in hospital including 11 in intensive care

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