WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Finding out why you are sick is key to finding the right treatment. Now, Wichita State researchers have created a new test that could speed up the process.
It’s called the RIC test. It stands for RSV, Influenza, and Covid.
The test is a nasopharyngeal swab that is evaluated and gives health professionals a head start on treating all three.
Wichita State Molecular Diagnostics Lab technical director, Sarah Nickel, said it’s clear when someone has one virus or the other.
“On our test, we’ve tagged where RSV will show up this purpley blue color, and COVID will show up this greenish color,” said Nickel.
In nearly two months, more than 15,000 of these new tests have been run through the lab.
While there aren’t as many RSV-positive cases as there are Covid, Nickel said it’s huge in helping you get treatment.
“It’s very helpful to be able to just say your symptoms might be caused by something else and be able to say what’s causing it?”
Dared Price owns pharmacies in Arkansas City, Winfield, Derby, Andover, and Rose Hill.
He said it’s helpful to have this three-in-one test in rural communities to know if it’s worth driving the distance to see a doctor for medication.
“It’s invaluable for our communities, to have an opportunity for people to come in and feel confident that they don’t have one of those viruses and so then they’re able to go to school, they’re able to go to work,” said Price Pharmacies Inc. Owner and Pharmacist Dared Price. “It’s a win-win-win situation for patients, pharmacy, and then the community.”
Price said there is one challenge.
“Why a lot of people don’t do it is because it’s nasal pharyngeal, so it’s kind of an uncomfortable test to do,” he said.
It’s something Wichita State’s MDL is working on.
Nickel said they are currently doing a study where people come in when they show symptoms and take a nasopharyngeal and a saliva test.
Researchers look at the accuracy of the test and compare the two. The goal is to get this three-in-one nasopharyngeal test into a three-in-one saliva test.
People can come to the lab to get tested to help the staff finish their study.
Nickel said if enough people come through the lab, a saliva test for these three viruses could be available in as little as two months.