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Developing rapid diagnostics for influenza

Unit(s) of assessment: Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy

School: School of Science and Technology


Development of a rapid point-of-care diagnostic device for influenza virus detection.

The research began by working on the validation of a standardised real-time PCR test for H5N1 avian influenza which is now used in European reference laboratories. Follow-on funding led to the development of fully-automated diagnostic devices for companies who have taken their products to market and attracted substantial investment from world-leading pharmaceutical companies.

Point-of-care diagnostics for influenza

Dr McNally transferred crucial background intellectual property to industry and academia and created and validated reference laboratory-quality diagnostic and detection assays. Demonstrating the impact of his work, the following companies all adopted assay design practices based on Dr McNally's scientific input: Genewave, Gaiker, Ikerlan, and Whatman GE Healthcare. Additionally, the validation of testing procedures and devices during the project was designed by Dr McNally, allowing the final product to be tested to OIE reference laboratory standards.

The impact of rapid diagnosis of human cases of H5N1 infection was quantified in a 2008 Lancet study which concluded that rapid point-of-care diagnosis of cases in humans would allow more effective infection control measures and quicker delivery of the antiviral oseltamivir to patients.

This research also created multiple opportunities for public outreach to educate the public on influenza and the benefits of rapid diagnostic research. These included editorials in the Lancet, and expert opinion pieces in national and international media such as BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio 4, and


This research was undertaken in collaboration with Genewave; Ikerlan; BIOEF; CIRAD; VIB and GE Healthcare

The project was funded by a £67,000 grant from the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Related staff

Dr Alan McNally: Reader, College of Arts and Science, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University.