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Pandemic influenza testing at the coalface: time for reassessment?

David W Smith, David J Speers and Rodney A Bowman
Med J Aust 2010; 192 (9): 541-542.

To the Editor: In their recent article, Beaman and Leung raised a number of important and pertinent issues about what we can learn from the influenza pandemic of 2009.1 However, we would like to correct a number of misconceptions on their part, including claims that Western Australia’s central public reference laboratory, PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA, (i) unreasonably favoured polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing over antigen testing; (ii) rationed and prioritised testing primarily because of inability to cope with the high demand; (iii) rarely achieved the benchmark turnaround time of 48 hours; and (iv) spent excessive time processing a large number of specimens, of which 96% were reported as negative.

  • David W Smith
  • David J Speers
  • Rodney A Bowman

  • Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA, Perth, WA.


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