Influenza, commonly known as flu, is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. Three varieties of this virus affect people: type A, type B, and type C. Influenza spreads through infectious respiratory secretions caused by aerosol formation due to direct contact with an infected person. This virus can cause seasonal epidemics with high levels of morbidity and mortality. According to WHO, these epidemics were estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million annual cases of severe illness, and about 250,000 to 500,000 annual deaths worldwide. In 2009, a pandemic of influenza A, which spread quickly to many countries, gained the attention of scientists to focus on better diagnosis of the virus.
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Initiatives by government bodies such as WHO and CDC to control and prevent influenza are a factor driving the influenza diagnostics market. Furthermore, the growing amount of research and development, technological advancements in diagnostic tests, and rising demand for influenza diagnosis are likely to propel this market during the forecast period. However the increasing prices of kits and reagents may pose a hindrance.
The influenza diagnostics market has been segmented by test type, end-users, and geography. In terms of test type, the divisions include rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDT), RT-PCR, cell culture, and others, including serology and immunofluorescence tests. The market share of RIDT has increased considerably due to its ability to provide quick results and recent approvals by the FDA. Based on end-users, the market is split into the following categories: hospitals, research centers, diagnostic laboratories, and point of care testing centers. Currently, hospitals hold a major share in the influenza diagnostics market due to regular epidemics, their easy accessibility, and a generally higher preference for this establishment; however, point of care testing is also likely to develop at a significant rate during the forecast period owing to the ease of usage that the medium offers.
Geographically, the influenza diagnostics market is distributed over North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East and Africa. North America constituted a substantial share in the market due to factors such as initiatives by government bodies to control the disease rates, technological advancements, health awareness among population, and research. The market in Asia Pacific is projected to expand rapidly due to its higher disease burden, higher rate of population, and rising initiatives to control the disease rate. For example, the CDC funds non research-related bilateral influenza cooperative agreements in South-East Asia aimed at routine diagnosis of seasonal flu and pandemic influenza.
Some of the key players in the influenza diagnostics market include Becton Dickinson and Company, Roche Diagnostics, Alere Scarborough, Inc, Princeton BioMedtech corp, Sekisui Diagnostics, SA Scientific, Inc, Quidel Corporation, Meridian Bioscience, Inc, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. These companies focus on introduction of cost-effective products with the ability to deliver quick results. For example, the ‘Alere i’ test to diagnose types A and B of influenza within 15 minutes was cleared for marketing by the FDA in June 2014.