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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)
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.

HCV Genotyping, when requested, is performed in-house every week on samples with a HCV viral load greater than 3.0 Log(10) IU/mL.

Laboratory turnaround time

Please see Turnaround times

Laboratory method

HIV, HCV, HBV, CMV and EBV viral load samples are tested using the Abbott® m2000 platform. BKV viral load is tested using the EliTech ELITe InGenius®. Viral load samples other than blood may be tested after discussion with laboratory medical staff.

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.

Microbiology Laboratory Users Manual (pdf, 684 KB)