According to the CDC, RT-PCR testing has:
- High sensitivity and very high specificity compared to antigen testing
- Can differentiate COVID-19. influenza A/B and RSV
- Is highly recommended for older children and adults due to the lower viral load in their respiratory specimens, making antigen testing less sensitive for this age group
Rapid RT-PCR assay performed by nurses at triage to detect influenza A/B is feasible and highly accurate. This claim is supported by this study conducted in which a total of 92 (49%) assays were performed. The results show the median time from patient entry to rapid RT-PCR assay results was 46 [interquartile range 36–55 minutes]. The sensitivity and specificity of these assays were 0.98 (95% confidence interval: 0.91–1.00).