Valleywise Health has become one of the first health care organizations in the country to implement a new rapid screening for Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever), saving a significant amount of time and money.
The technology – developed by IMMY and adopted by the Valleywise Health laboratory in 2018 – returns results in as little as 20 minutes. Prior to this, Valley Fever tests were sent to a specialty lab in California and took an average of two weeks to get results.
“This is the first major development for a rapid Valley Fever test in 50 years,” said Wesley Candelaria, MPH, M(ASCP), Clinical Lab Director at Valleywise Health. “It’s completely changed the way we respond to Valley Fever and is helping patients get the care they need faster.”
IMMY approached Valleywise Health to trial the FDA-approved Sona Coccidioides Antibody Lateral Flow Assay in the Spring of 2018. Valleywise Health laboratory professionals and District Medical Group physicians ran hundreds of samples to prove it was appropriate for our patients before officially implementing it. Since then, over 1,500 tests have been ordered.
“It’s a risk to administer certain medications if patients have Valley Fever, so physicians were left balancing treatment options while they waited for the results. Now, physicians can manage patients’ care faster and more confidently with this new rapid test,” said Candelaria.
The test itself is surprisingly simple, using a small sample of the patient’s blood, adding a test buffer to make titer dilutions, and then adding the lateral flow test strip.
“It’s kind of like a pregnancy test,” said Candelaria. “If the patient has the antibody in their blood, it will make a line on the test strip.”
Valleywise Health was recently selected from thousands of applicants to present on this new rapid Valley Fever test at a national conference in Washington D.C., hosted by the Infectious Disease Society of America.
Click here to see the presentation poster.