Test Code: RVPCR Preferred Name Respiratory virus PCR

24 hrs
Daily M-F
24-48 hrs
Medicare Item

Test Tubes

ImageSpecimen TypeSpecimen VolumeTube Type
Nasopharyngeal Aspirate (NPA)>1 mLSputum trap
ETT>1 mLEndotrachial Tube Aspirate
Nasopharyngeal SwabNasopharyngeal Swab (flocked)
Sputum1 mLSterile container 70 mL (yellow lid)
BAL1 mLSputum trap
CSF500 uLBlack top tubes (kit contains 3 tubes; sterile)


1. PCR cannot be performed on swabs collected in bacterial transport media as this is inhibitory to the amplification enzyme involved in the PCR test.

2. Either a nasopharyngeal flocked swab, or a viral transport swab or a dry swab or a dry swab in VTM (viral transport medium) or an NPA can be collected.

1. Using the swab and without contaminating it, measure the distance from the patient's nostril to their ear lobe on the same side. This is the distance to the back of the nasopharynx. Mark the distance on the swab using your thumb and forefinger.
2. Place the swab into a nostril and slide the swab backwards along the floor of the nose until it reaches your thumb/forefinger. It will now be at the back wall of the nasopharynx.
3. Turn x5 times wait a few seconds and withdraw.
4. Replace the swab into the sheath and send to the laboratory.


1. A nasopharyngeal flocked swab or an NPA may be collected.
2. Lung tissue cannot be tested at Mater Pathology but can be referred to Pathology Queensland Central Laboratory for testing.
3. If  SARS or Avian influenza is being considered, collect a Nasopharyngeal Aspirate or x3 Nasopharyngeal swabs to ensure suffient material for testing and use Test code FSSPCR.  

This test includes:

Influenza A and B
Influenza A H1 and influenza A H3
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Rhinovirus/Enterovirus (RV/EV)
Parainfluenza 1,2,3, 4 (Para1, 2, 3 or 4)
Adenovirus (Adeno)
Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV)

SARS testing and AVIAN influenza and Middle East Respiratory Sydrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) testing  is referred to Forensic and Scientific Services (FSS) directly.

Microbiology will still perform urgent EIA testing for respiratory viruses if it is indicated on the request as "urgent", or if the Doctor contacts the laboratory and requests the test urgently.  These samples will have a respiratory virus PCR performed on the next available run.

Urgent respiratory EIA requests between 0730-1200 hours will be upgraded to a Respiratory Virus PCR (RVPCR) which is a more sensitive test.

PCR testing is performed Monday-Saturday. Samples received before 11 am will be tested on the same day, if received after 11am samples will be tested on the next testing day. If testing is required urgently out-of-hours, please contact the microbiology laboratory on 3163-8168.

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