Influenza or COVID? The new Multi-Diagnostic PCR test is now available in Madrid (questions and answers)

24 November 2020 comment

You wake up on a Monday and you begin to feel muscle ache and a strong itch in your throat. You quickly remember Friday dinner at your friend Miguel’s house, where he coughed violently from time to time. You also remember that you asked him half seriously, half jokingly, if he could have caught the coronavirus and warned him that, maybe, he had caught the flu  and that he should get an influenza vaccine. He insisted that it could not be any of them and that it must have been a simple cold. And of course, how not to trust the word of a friend? As if that had some medical or scientific validity.

What if it turns out that it was COVID and now you have gotten it? What should we do in these cases?: insist that Miguel have a test? Do one for yourself? Should I call to work to report staying home for prevention until the situation clears up? How should we act in the event that we have mild symptoms of the flu or, why not, COVID-19?

At the height of the influenza virus infection season, which adds a significant number of hospital admissions every year, the new multi-diagnostic PCR test for COVID, influenza and syncytial virus is one of the new tools we have this winter to combat overcrowding. of patients with symptoms of the flu, COVID, or even the common cold. In these moments of uncertainty, this new PCR test can help them to clarify doubts and its massive use will also be very useful to decongest the flow of patients in hospitals and primary care centers.

As you can imagine, it is extremely important to reliably differentiate between the two infections to determine the appropriate treatment for each patient, as the diagnosis can be complicated given the similarities between influenza and Covid symptoms. The Multi-diagnostic PCR test to detect influenza A and B viruses, the new coronavirus and the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is available 7 days a week at Life Length laboratories in Madrid, for all those who need to know quickly whether or not they have any of these respiratory viruses.

Below, as usual, we resolve some of the questions that arise among our patients.

1. What are the most common symptoms of Covid and seasonal influenza?

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, dry cough, tiredness, and some less common are aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of sense of smell or taste, skin rashes, loss of color in the fingers or toes. The usual symptoms of the flu are feverish feeling and chills, cough, sore throat, nasal obstruction, muscle pain throughout the body, headaches and fatigue.

As you can see, the symptoms are very similar in the two diseases, at least for those affected.

2. Which is better, a Multi-Diagnostic PCR test or a normal PCR?

If you have flu symptoms, it would be advisable to have a Multi-Diagnostic test to clarify if you have influenza, COVID-19, both, or neither. The test carried out by Life Length is a PCR test, with the highest reliability, and it is not a rapid test for Covid and Flu, as offered in some other public and private hospitals, with much lower sensitivities.

3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Multi-Diagnostics compared to normal CRP?

The advantages of the Multi-diagnostic PCR test are that the 3 respiratory viruses (influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and RSV) can be detected in the same test. RSV, in the case of children, can also cause bronchitis with severe respiratory symptoms. The downside of this new test is that the result can take up to 48 hours and is not as fast as in the normal PCR test, with the results on the same day.

4. How is this test done?

To perform this test, it is necessary to collect a sample from the nasal portion of the pharynx -nasopharyngeal- with a sterile rayon swab, which will be subsequently analyzed in the laboratory.

5. How long does it take to know the result?

Results reports will be available the day after the test if performed before 3:00 p.m., and within 48 hours if performed after 3:00 p.m. Results from Thursday afternoon and Friday will be shipped within 48 hours. Test results for Friday afternoon and weekend are issued on Mondays.

6. When and where can you do this test?

This test can be done 7 days a week in Madrid, at our office on Calle Miguel Ángel 11, on the second floor and it is necessary to book an appointment.

7. Should I combine this test with another antibody test?

As we always recommend, when someone decides to undergo tests to detect Covid, especially if they are asymptomatic, it is advisable to do both types of tests, one that detects the virus (PCR or rapid antigen test) together with another of serology that detects antibodies (ELISA or rapid antibody test).

8. How much does the test cost?

The price of the multi-diagnostic PCR test for individuals is 150 euros per person, if combined with the ELISA test it is 200 euros per person, and combined with the rapid antibody test, 180 euros per person. The price of the PCR test is 125 euros, the rapid antibody test costs 40 euros and the ELISA test, 60 euros. The combination of two tests carries a discount of 10 euros.

Photographs: Visuals, United Nations


Telephone service hours: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 14 p.m.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our laboratory has provided its comprehensive clinical analysis and testing services to help tackle the health crisis in Spain. We are working for hospitals, residences and corporate entities and we have contributed to the correct diagnosis of thousands of people and patients.

In our laboratory we carry out PCR tests to detect positive cases with a reliability of 99.9%, together with the rapid antigens tests and the most complete serology tests, the ELISA tests. We also offer the best quick test for the detection of IgM and IgG antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with a sensitivity and specificity of 98.6% and 99.6% respectively.


1 Comment

  • This is a great idea. The covid-19 focus has, up until now, left influenza as a forgotten virus. When one looks at the CDC p&I deaths compared to the covid-19 deaths, it is remarkable that influenza has had a terribly high number of deaths, almost equaling the numbers from covid-19. Was there perhaps two pandemic viruses working in tandem to kill so many people?

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