Bentham Science Logo

New Emirates Medical Journal

Volume 2, 2 Issues, 2021
ISSN: 0250-6882 (Online)
This journal supports open access

Track Your Manuscript:

Open Access Article

Flu Viral Multiplex Testing and its Implication for COVID-19 Testing

Aaron Han1, *, Janet Hicban2
1 Department of Pathology, Mohammed bin Rashid University School of Medicine, Dubai UAE
2 American Hospital, Dubai, UAE



The diagnosis of viral causes for flu-like syndromes have positively been impacted by the availability of molecular assays. In recent years, syndromic multiplex panels have been able to give rapid turn-around-times and highly accurate results. We examine the use of this test during the first four months of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.


A retrospective review of 2145 patient results from a multiplex syndromic flu panel using Biofire RP2 was performed. Cases in which parallel testing for COVID-19 by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was compared.


53% of the patients tested identified as a viral agent. 13% of the positive cases were coinfection with more than a single virus. The most frequently detected virus(es) were rhinovirus/enterovirus, followed by coronaviruses (non-MERS, non-COVID-19). One hundred patients had simultaneous testing for COVID-19. Seventeen (17%) had positive COVID-19 by RT-PCR. Three of these patients had coinfection with rhinovirus/enterovirus and COVID-19. The negative predictive value for COVID-19 based on a positive non-COVID agent was 95% in our sample.


Viral syndromic panels are useful for the rapid detection and appropriate treatment of patients. Our results suggest coinfection is infrequent, and we discuss the impact of COVID-19 on patient testing strategy. The use of multiplex panels is useful to provide accurate diagnosis and rule out important pathogens that have different treatment approaches.

Keywords: PCR, Flu, Lab, Molecular, COVID-19, Virus.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2021
Volume: 2
Issue: 1
First Page: 16
Last Page: 19
Publisher Id: nemj-2-16
DOI: 10.2174/0250688201999200908150437

Article History:

Received Date: 28/5/2020
Revision Received Date: 10/8/2020
Acceptance Date: 11/8/2020
Electronic publication date: 12/02/2021
Collection year: 2021

© 2021 Han and Hicban.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pathology, Mohammed bin Rashid University School of Medicine, Dubai UAE; E-mail:


Abdullah Shehab
Emirates Cardiac Society
Emirates Medical Association
View Full Editorial Board

Annual Journal Metrics


Acceptance rate = 40%

Average review speed: 45 days average

18 days from acceptance to publication