Fact Check: Dual-Use COVID-19/Influenza A&B Test Does NOT Prove Coronavirus Is Flu

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Dual-Use COVID-19/Influenza A&B Test Does NOT Prove Coronavirus Is Flu Separate Tests

Does a dual-use COVID-19/influenza A&B test prove coronavirus is the flu? No, that's not true: While COVID and influenza are both respiratory ailments, they are caused by different viruses and require different tests. The antigen test kit pictured in this story is marketed in Australia under the name Fanttest. It's a combination self-test that checks for both viruses at the same time. The two tests are separate from each other but are included in the same testing device.

The claim appeared in an Instagram post on November 28, 2022. It opened:

A couple years ago, I was attacked on social media for saying the Rona was the flu. In 2019, flu numbers 'disappeared' and everyone had rona instead. Now, the test is for both? 🤷🏽‍♀️ I always knew I was right. All a scam. Fuck all of you who were assholes to me for what I believed. Keep living in fear. I'll just keep living.

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken Tue Nov 29 at 16:57:47 2022 UTC)

Two different viruses

Although one test kit is used, each Fanttest COVID-19/Influenza A&B Antigen Test Kit is made up of two separate tests. This is because the virus that causes each illness is not the same and requires a different test to identify it. This is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website says:

Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) first identified in 2019. Flu is caused by infection with a flu virus (influenza viruses).

Here's what a box of the combination test kits looks like without some of the labeling marked out. Its contents are also shown below:


(Source: BMFHQ website screenshot taken Tue Nov 29 at 17:41:23 2022 UTC)

In the center of the picture above, outlined in red, is one of the testing devices, showing the COVID-19 test on the left and the influenza A&B test on the right. A close-up is included below:

Plan test kit cropped zoomed.png

(Source: BMFHQ website screenshot taken Tue Nov 29 at 17:41:23 2022 UTC)

The instruction sheet from the test kit also shows the dual-use testing device along with how to read each test. A cropped version of it appears below:

Test PDF cropped (1).png

(Source: Australian government website screenshot taken Tue Nov 29 at 18:02:24 2022 UTC)

Additional Lead Stories fact checks related to COVID-19 can be found here.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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