That question is certainly very plausible now. For example multiplex respiratory PCRs are available which diagnose a whole range of respiratory viruses, in real time, for which no specific treatment is available. Ditto that for enteric viral PCRs.
There are a few possible retorts…..
When the diagnosis is established:
- it may prevent further unnecessary investigation.
- it may prevent further unnecessary treatment.
- it may allow earlier discharge.
- it may have infection control implications (isolation, cohorting etc)
It is a simple and fundamental question. However we often think of the answer in simplistic and fundamental terms.