Oxoid Limited, a division of Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, Mass, has launched a new direct immunofluorescence test for the rapid detection and identification of human metapneumovirus (hMPV), a leading cause of respiratory illness in children and adults.

IMAGEN™ hMPV enables clinical laboratories of any size to screen for this important cause of acute respiratory tract illness with results in less than one-half  hour, and requiring only standard microbiological equipment.

Previously, laboratory diagnosis of hMPV had largely depended on a time-consuming process of virus isolation in cell cultures and/or detection of viral RNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), usually requiring specialized equipment found in larger laboratories.

“[IMAGEN]’s comprehensive panel of tests not only helps medical professionals to know what aetiological agent they are dealing with, but it will also help them to understand more about the prevalence and clinical significance of each of the viruses," said
Barbara Fallowfield, a marketing manager for Oxoid.

IMAGEN hMPV has demonstrated a specificity of 100% and sensitivity of 76% to 100% (depending on the reference method used). It is available in kits of 50 tests, including two positive control slides and mounting fluid.