Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Acute respiratory tract infections are responsible for over four million deaths each year and are the third most common cause of death worldwide. Respiratory viruses are the most common detectable pathogen (virus) in adults with acute respiratory infection. Influenza and other respiratory virus infections often remain undiagnosed in patients admitted to critical care due to lack of systematic testing. Even when testing occurs, treatment is often delayed because of slow turnaround times of laboratory methods. Treatment for influenza in hospitalised adults requires medications called neuraminidase (e.g. Tamiflu / oseltamivir). Prompt treatment with neuraminidase inhibitors reduces the risk of death and therefore the sooner patients receive them, the better their outcomes will be. Point-of-care tests (POCT) for respiratory viruses have been limited in clinical practice by unacceptably low sensitivities and by an inadequate range of detectable viruses. Newer molecular systems, such as the FilmArray Respiratory Panel, have comparable sensitivity to laboratory tests and are able to detect a wide range of viruses generating a result in about an hour. The aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of point-of-care testing for respiratory viruses in adults with severe acute respiratory illness in critical care units.
Who can participate?
Adults aged 18 and older who are admitted to the hospital with a respiratory issue
What does the study involve?
Participants are randomly allocated to one of two groups. Those in the first group receive nose and throat swab taken (which is like a ‘cotton bud’) by research staff. This swab is taken immediately to and analysed for many different viruses that can cause respiratory on the POCT. The results are available in about one hour and participants are informed of the results, as will the doctors and nurses looking after them. Those in the second group receive the standard care. Participants have their hospital case notes and clinical data reviewed to see if a rapid testing can diagnose respiratory viruses sooner and improves health outcomes.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participants may benefit from having diagnosed with a respiratory virus sooner than otherwise, leading to a more rapid use of antivirals and appropriate isolation facility use. There are no notable risks with participating.
Where is the study run from?
Southampton General Hospital (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
August 2016 to July 2025
Who is funding the study?
Biofire Diagnostics (UK)
Who is the main contact?
1. Dr Tristan Clark
2. Dr Nathan J Brendish
Dr Tristan Clark
University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine
12 University Road
+44 2381 204989
Dr Nathan Brendish
Clinical Research Fellow in Infectious Diseases
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Southampton General Hospital
+44 2381 204989
Pragmatic randomised controlled trial of routine molecular Point-of-Care testing for respiratory viruses versus routine clinical care in adults with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness: a pilot Study (SARIPOC)
The aim of the study is to evaluate the clinical impact of molecular point-of-care testing for respiratory viruses in adults with severe acute respiratory illness in critical care units.
Regional Ethics Committee (REC) Southcentral – Berkshire, 25/05/2017, 17/SC/0110
Randomised; Interventional; Design type: Diagnosis, Management of Care
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Participants are randomly allocated to either the intervention or the control group using a 1:1 internet-based randomisation service.
Intervention group: Participants in this group receive nose and throat swabs, and have a lower respiratory sample taken if available, which is then tested for respiratory virus at the point-of-care using the FilmArray Respiratory Panel with results communicated to the clinical team. The results are available in about one hour and patients areinformed of the results, as will the doctors and nurses looking after them This is done in addition to the standard care.
Control group: Participants in this group receive the standard clinical care alone. This may include sending a nose and throat swab to the laboratory for testing (the results for this usually take 1 to 2 days).
Retrospective hospital case notes and clinical data are evaluated.
Primary outcome measure
'Proportion of influenza positive patients treated with neuraminidase inhibitors (NAI) within 7 days of admission to hospital, measured retrospectively on discharge or at 30 days, using electronic hospital prescribing systems
Secondary outcome measures
1. Proportion of cases of influenza identified are measured using electronic hospital case notes at end of hospital stay or 30 days
2. Proportion of cases of non-influenza respiratory viruses detected are measured using electronic hospital prescribing systems at end of hospital stay or 30 days
3. Proportion of all NAI use occurring in influenza positive patients are measured using electronic hospital prescribing systems at end of hospital stay or 30 days
4. Time from admission to NAI commencement in hours are measured using electronic hospital prescribing systems
5. Duration of NAI use in influenza positive and negative patients in days are measured using electronic hospital prescribing systems
6. Proportion of patients treated with antibiotics are measured using electronic hospital prescribing systems at end of hospital stay or 30 days
7. Duration of antibiotic use (in days) are measured using electronic hospital prescribing systems
8. Number of antibiotic agents received and spectrum are measured using electronic hospital prescribing systems at end of hospital stay or 30 days
9. Proportion of patients isolated are measured using hospital case notes at end of hospital stay or 30 days
10. Duration of isolation facility use are measured using hospital case notes at end of hospital stay or 30 days
11. Proportion of influenza cases correctly isolated are measured using hospital case notes at end of hospital stay or 30 days
12. Time from admission to isolation of influenza cases are measured using hospital case notes at end of hospital stay or 30 days
13. Time from admission to de-isolation of influenza negative cases are measured using hospital case notes at end of hospital stay or 30 days
14. Time on organ support (in days) is measured using hospital case notes
15. Time on supplementary oxygen (in days) is measured using hospital case notes
16. Time in critical care unit (level 2 /3 duration) (in days) is measured using hospital case notes
17. Duration of hospitalisation (in days) is measured using hospital case notes
18. Proportion of patients with complications and serious adverse events are measured using hospital case notes at end of hospital stay or 30 days
19. In hospital, 30 and 60 day mortality is measured
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Admitted to the Respiratory High Dependency Unit (RHDU), or an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), or about to be transferred to either RHDU or ICU, or under the care of the RHDU or ICU team in another hospital area, within University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS)
2. Aged ≥18 years old
3. Duration of respiratory illness less than 10 days prior to hospitalisation
4. Presented to hospital less than 72 hours prior to enrolment
5. Has a severe acute respiratory illness*
*An episode of severe acute respiratory illness is defined as an acute pulmonary illness (including pneumonia, bronchitis and influenza-like illness) or an acute exacerbation of a chronic respiratory illness (including exacerbation of COPD, asthma or bronchiectasis), requiring high dependency or intensive care. For the study, a severe acute respiratory illness as a provisional, working, differential or confirmed diagnosis must be made by a treating clinician.
Target number of participants
Planned Sample Size: 300; UK Sample Size: 300
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Not fulfilling all the inclusion criteria
2. A purely palliative approach being taken by the treating clinicians
3. Previously included in this study
4. Declines nasal / pharyngeal swabbing
5. Consent declined or consultee consent declined
6. Severe acute respiratory illness is related to solely to critical illness and/or is not the principal illness leading to ICU/HDU admission
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Southampton General Hospital
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust Tremona Road
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
We plan to publish the results of this trial in a high-impact peer reviewed journal in September 2021.
IPD sharing statement:
The current data sharing plans for the current study are unknown and will be made available at a later date
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
To be made available at a later date
Basic results (scientific)