Most of the recently launched products for respiratory infection diagnostics advertise enhanced analytical sensitivity, but in order to meet the needs of today’s healthcare providers and improve patient care, processes, as well as assays, need to be optimised too. A fully automated random-access rapid test system, mariPOC, introduced by ArcDia International is the first product in which objective detection of multiple pathogens is combined with minimal hands-on time.

MariPOC is a novel point-of-care test system for rapid multianalyte detection of respiratory tract infections. The test is manufactured by Finnish company ArcDia International and is based on ArcDia’s proprietary fluorescence technology. Strong positive samples are reported in just 20 minutes, and low positive and negative samples in two hours. Up to 90% of patients receive a pathogen-specific diagnostic result immediately on site.

Currently, two mariPOC applications are available: the mariPOC respi test analyses influenza-like illnesses from a single nasopharyngeal sample, covering 11 respiratory pathogens, including influenza and respiratory syncytial viruses; and the mariPOC pharyn test is indicated for differential diagnostics of group A Streptococcus and adenovirus.

Recently, an academic collaborator of ArcDia from a leading European clinical virology lab in Amsterdam interviewed mariPOC users in Finland about their experiences with the product. ArcDia’s product specialist, Ida Koho, summarises the interview results as follows.

Why are rapid tests needed?

Respiratory infections are difficult to accurately diagnose solely by clinical symptoms. It is not possible to differentiate between bacterial infections, requiring antibiotic treatment, and viral infections, which might benefit from virus-specific drug treatment.
Even today, the most common process to manage respiratory infections is empirical treatment without any in-vitro diagnostics. This has led to suboptimal patient care, excessive use of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance, and that’s not to mention the negative side effects of unnecessary antimicrobials on the human body. Specific pathogen testing is therefore needed to optimise patient treatment and prevent inappropriate use of antibiotics.

Why did the users choose mariPOC?

They chose mariPOC because it is easy to use. It provides rapid results for multiple pathogens, yet it is more sensitive and specific than traditional lateral flow tests. Limitations of rapid PCR-based products include high prices, lack of multianalyte capability, low throughput and/or assay protocols that are too complex for polyclinic or lab nurses.

MariPOC is automated, and there is no place for result-interpretation variation – this increases the quality of acute infections diagnostics. The 50-100-sample-a-day capacity of mariPOC is sufficient for even large clinical units or university hospital labs.

Who can run the mariPOC tests?

Anybody can operate the mariPOC tests following a short period of training, meaning that nursing or lab staff can run the tests. The system is easy to maintain and completely self-explanatory. The ease of use allows samples to be run 24/7 and, therefore, most of the customers have abandoned other rapid tests.

How can it improve patient care?

A paediatric emergency ward at a university hospital had tried a new process model with mariPOC: patients with influenza-like symptoms were tested by nurses using the system before entering the doctor’s office. In most cases, the test results became available while they were waiting to see the doctor. This significantly improved the process. In addition, patient care was improved due to reduced waiting time and faster treatment.