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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Molecular testing

Specimen requirements

Samples should be transported to the laboratory as soon as possible. If specimen transport will be delayed, e.g. from primary care, specimens should be stored in a refrigerator until transported to the laboratory.

Depending on the assay required, there can be a variety of sample types that may be accepted.

Please check below before sending to prevent delay as some tests cannot be performed on certain sample types.

Quantitative PCR
Investigation Suitable samples
HIV EDTA (purple top)
HBV EDTA (purple top) or Serum (gold top)
HCV EDTA (purple top) or Serum (gold top)
BKV EDTA (purple top), Urine samples now processed in Cytology Department
CMV EDTA (purple top), CSF, Urine, amniotic fluid, tissue samples or swabs
EBV EDTA (purple top)
Qualitative PCR

CSF, respiratory samples and swabs (other than genital) can be processed for a variety of pathogens in-house.

Additionally post-mortem and faeces samples can be processed for HSV, VZV and Enteroviruses.

Laboratory turnaround time

To be cost-effective these tests are all run in batches. The turnaround time can therefore vary from one to up to 14 days.

Laboratory method

Most of the assays are based on a real-time PCR reaction and are performed within the Molecular Laboratory.

Where to find results of these tests

  • All results are returned electronically where possible (EPR, SunquestICE).
  • Some results may be phoned to clinicians and GPs.
  • Results are never given directly to patients by the laboratory staff.

Further information and contact details

For further information please email:

Confidential patient information should only be sent from accounts.