The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged labs this week to stock clinics with kits that can test for both the coronavirus and the flu as the “influenza season” draws near.
The CDC said Wednesday it will withdrawal its request for the “Emergency Use Authorization” of real-time diagnostic testing kits, which were used starting in February 2020 to detect signs of the coronavirus, by the end of the year.
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“CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives,” the agency said.
The U.S. has reported more than 34.4 million cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began in 2020 and more than 610,000 deaths.
But while cases of COVID-19 soared nationwide, hospitalizations and deaths caused by influenza dropped.
According to data released by the CDC earlier this month, influenza mortality rates were significantly lower throughout 2020 than previous years.
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There were 646 deaths relating to the flu among adults reported in 2020, whereas in 2019 the CDC estimated that between 24,000 and 62,000 people died from influenza-related illnesses.
The CDC urged laboratories to “save both time and resources” by introducing kits that can determine and distinguish a positive test for the coronavirus and flu.
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“CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses,” the agency said Wednesday.
Laboratories will have until the close of 2021 before the CDC officially withdrawals its Emergency Use Authorization of the Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel.