Influenza, popularly known as Flu is the most common infectious disease world over. It is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system that affects nose, throat, and lungs and can cause mild or severe illness. People with influenza exhibit symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, body aches, rhinitis, chill and fatigue. People usually suffer from flu infections during colder months of the year, however it can also affect people in other seasons; as it is a highly contagious airborne disease. Influenza tends to spread rapidly during the seasonal epidemics because the virus is transmitted easily from one person to another via droplets and small particles produced while coughing and sneezing of the infected person.
Globally, four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C & D infect humans; where human influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal flu. Influenza C type infections cause mild respiratory illnesses whereas influenza type D viruses affect the cattle and does not infect humans. Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes which are found in general are influenza A (H1N1) and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. According to World Health Organization (WHO) latest update about 84.2% of specimens test during the survey were of influenza A virus and remaining 15.8% with influenza B in 2016. The increasing government initiatives to counter influenza, and growing prevalence of chronic diseases are the major driving factors for the growth of this market.
The global market for influenza diagnostics market is segmented by test type, by end-user and by geography. A large number of tests are available to detect influenza or the flu virus worldwide. Based on test segments the market can be categorized into rapid molecular assay, rapid influenza diagnostics tests (RIDTs), reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and rapid cell culture. Moreover, rapid diagnostics tests, have a high degree of specificity but only moderate sensitivity, and is most popular. Rapid diagnostics tests are becoming more widely used due to its ability to produce rapid results, i.e. in 30 minutes or less.
The RT-PCR is a type of molecular assay, which is also widely accepted especially in laboratory settings globally, due to the detailed analytical results provided, sharper turnaround times, and high throughput of these tests. Generally, the sensitivity of rapid tests is lower than that of cell culture based tests. Rapid tests vary in complexity with the number of steps required to perform each test. According to the world health organization, (WHO) accuracy of an influenza test is mainly determined by the sensitivity and specificity of the test to detect infection compared with a gold standard (culture tests) and the prevalence of influenza in a specific community.
Based on end-user the influenza diagnostics market is segmented into hospitals, laboratories, clinics, and point of care testing (POCT). Where the hospitals segment holds the greater market share than laboratories, clinics and POCT due to high focus of the government and healthcare bodies to control influenza carried out in hospitals. However the point of care testing segment in end user is expected to grow in future due to easy access to the patients and less turnaround timings.
Geographically the influenza diagnostics market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East & Africa. Amongst these, North America holds the largest share of the influenza diagnostics market due to technological advancement in healthcare systems, high adoption rate of in vitro diagnostics procedures, and initiatives by regulatory bodies in the region. Europe contributed second largest share to influenza diagnostics market growth due to its high healthcare awareness, purchasing power, and rapidly aging population. Whereas the market in Asia Pacific region is expected to be the fastest growing due to the improving health care infrastructure, rapidly increasing adoption of improved technologies, and increasing disease burden in the region.
Key players operating in the influenza diagnostics market are Becton, Dickinson and Company, Siemens Healthineers, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd., Thermo Fisher Scientific, Alere, Inc., Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., Abbott Laboratories and others.